Since the U.S. Senate repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy with a 65-31 vote Dec. 18, 2010, the Department of Defense is conjuring up a way to implement the new policy at all military levels.
DADT has yet to cause an issue for UTSA’s ROTC nor has the repeal. “We’re not changing anything we do at this point and time,” said Scott Sonsalla, Army Lt. Colonel and military science professor.
He said there will be minor changes in the paperwork, removing a section that questioned applicants on their knowledge of the DADT policy.
“The new policy won’t affect anything out of the ordinary. While in uniform, nothing has changed,” Sonsalla said.
Another reason the new policy would not change much, explained Sonsalla, is because, no service personnel is allowed to show public display of affection.
According to Sonsalla, the military never solely judged their recruits on their sexual orientation, but has always looked for new ones with clean backgrounds, good grades and the ability to pass a physical training test. This approach will not change when the new policy is fully implemented by the Department of Defense regulations.
Sonsalla said the implementation is not based on a matter of likes or dislikes, but according to the Department of Defense.
Sonsalla said UTSA witnessed a 50 percent increase in fall enrollment along with a rise in the Army’s number of cadets to 150.
However, there are different reasons people join the Army and the new DADT policy may have an influence. But unless service personnel indicate their sexual preference, he is unable to link the increase to the modification of the DADT policy. He did say, however, the new policy will open doors.
“The Army is all about diversity,” Sonsalla said. Members encompass different ethnicities and genders.
He said the main question remains: Can the cadets be leaders? And does each cadet have the proper make-up of conduct – honor, service, professionalism, duty, honesty and integrity?
If so, Sonsalla encourages that person to consider joining.
No one has yet to approach Sonsalla on the DADT topic. He said it will take months to see if anyone does take advantage of the changed policy and openly join as a homosexual.
Darin Defendorf, the Air Force ROTC’s Lt. Colonel, agreed with Sonsalla saying he is not going to speculate if the Air Force will see a rise or fall in the number of recruits and if that movement will be because of the repeal.
He said there will be minor changes with paper work considering the current application states the old law, which will need to be removed or altered. However, this is one of many forms completed by a recruit; therefore there will not be a large reduction of paper work.
Overall, Defendorf said the law is too new to predict its affects; however, he thinks there will be no difference in ROTC.
Defendorf said things do not change overnight and for the time being, both Defendorf and Sonsalla are awaiting direction from the Department of Defense on how to efficiently implement these changes.
Sonsalla said this is not the hottest topic seen by the Army: there is still an ongoing battle about women in combat.
One of the main problems found in this change was that men tend to protect injured women in combat rather than continue fighting.
“[The] Army’s going to survive. We survive all the time. We just got to figure out the best way to do it,” Sonsalla said.
“It is in our nation’s interest to attract the best and brightest to our Army’s officer corps and in no way does the U.S. Army discourage any college student from enrolling in ROTC and obtaining a commission,” Sonsalla said.