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Carter: Military ‘Stronger Than Ever’ 5 Years After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2016 — In a statement marking the fifth anniversary of the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that barred gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today’s military is stronger than ever.

“I am proud to report that five years after the implementation of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" our military, drawn from a cross-section of America, is stronger than ever and continues to exemplify the very best that our great nation has to offer,” the secretary said. “The American people can take pride in how the Department of Defense and the men and women of the United States military have implemented this change with the dignity, respect, and excellence expected of the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”

Renewed Inclusiveness

Carter expressed optimism as the military continues to become more inclusive.

“As the memory of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" fades further into the past, and we move forward together to face new challenges,” he said, “we recognize that openness to diversity and reaching out in a spirit of renewed inclusiveness will strengthen our military and enhance our nation's security.”

Also today, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness released a letter to service members, families and veterans, encouraging people who received less-than-honorable discharges from the military based solely on “Don’t Ask, Don’t” tell and its precursor laws and policies to seek a correction of their records.

“Whether you seek to have a document revised, a discharge upgraded, or seek something else you believe was wrongly denied you, we have skilled, caring people and fair and effective policy to assist you,” Peter Levine wrote.

Distribution channels: Military