Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was asked by CNN host Jake Tapper on Jan. 4 about reinstating a ban on gay service members and rolling back advances for women in the U.S. military (video below).
Carson appeared on CNN with his new campaign chairman, retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert F. Dees, notes Towleroad.com.
“One of the things that I learned in a long medical career is that you make decisions based on evidence, and not on ideology," Carson replied. "So, yes, I would be willing to sit down with people from both sides and examine the evidence and make decisions based on what the evidence shows.”
The Pentagon did a year-long study from 2009 to 2010 on the impact that openly-gay soldiers would have on the U.S. military before the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays was lifted.
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The study found that repealing the ban would cause "some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention," but the negative fallout would not be long-lasting or widespread in the armed forces, CNN reported in November 2010.
"The general lesson we take from ... transformational experiences in history is that in matters of personnel change within the military, predictions and surveys tend to overestimate negative consequences, and underestimate the U.S. military's ability to adapt and incorporate within it ranks the diversity that is reflective of American society at large," the study said.
During his interview with Tapper, Dees also explained his opinion when it comes to openly-gay servicemembers.
“Well, I think the first priority again is cohesion, and the second priority would be that the commander-in-chief listen to the best military advice, and so on a number of these social issues the best military advice has been thwarted and the administration has said, ‘Do this, do this, do this,’ apart from military and defense considerations as a priority," Dees added.
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Nathaniel Frank, who co-authored a UCLA study, noted in Slate in 2012 how his research showed that ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy “has had no negative impact on overall military readiness or its component parts: unit cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.”