Gays and the military: A bad fit

In our experience, and that of more than 1,000 retired flag and general officers who have joined us in signing an open letter to President Obama and Congress, repeal of this law would prompt many dedicated people to leave the military. Polling by Military Times of its active-duty subscribers over the past four years indicates that 58 percent have consistently opposed repeal. In its most recent survey, 10 percent said they would not reenlist if that happened, and 14 percent said they would consider leaving.

If just the lesser number left the military, our active-duty, reserve and National Guard forces would lose 228,600 people — more than the total of today’s active-duty Marine Corps. Losses of even a few thousand sergeants, petty officers and experienced mid-grade officers, when we are trying to expand the Army and Marine Corps, could be crippling.