Air Force Col. Reaches Agreement; DADT Discharges Studied

Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach reached an agreement with the government that will delay a decision on whether he will be discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, giving him more time to fight the discharge in court. The New York Times reports: "Under the agreement released Monday, the Air Force said that it would not make a decision on Colonel Fehrenbach before Aug. 27 and that if it decided to discharge him, it would take no action for 21 days after notifying him of that decision." Attorneys for Fehrenbach said in a statement "This is exactly what we asked the Court to do in our motion on Wednesday, and we are pleased that the Air Force has agreed to preserve the status quo until we can have a full hearing. Of course, we continue to hope that the Air Force will do the right thing and let this war hero continue to serve this country." The news coincides with an anaylsis of recent discharges under the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers serving openly - that found women and minorities to be disproportionately affected. For example, the Washington Post reports 48 percent of the Army soldiers discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2009 were women, even though women only make up 14 percent of the overall Army population. Aaron Belkin from the Palm Center writes that the analysis reveals that "'don't ask, don't tell' imposes no fewer than twelve different types of costs on the military, including financial waste and undermining morale and unit cohesion." Finally, the deadline for the  surveys on the military's attitudes towards troops serving openly has now come and gone, and Stars & Stripes reports just more than a quarter of the surveys were returned. Given that the survey went out to more than 400,000 people, that will still be a very large sample size.