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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' surveys sent out to 400,000 service members

The Pentagon today sent out 400,000 surveys to service members for their opinions on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gay and lesbian personnel from serving openly. The survey includes questions about the impact the repeal might have on morale and readiness, and a service member's willingness to share quarters, bathrooms, and shower facilities with gay or lesbian service members.

The 200,000 active duty and 200,000 guard and reserve forces were chosen at random for the surveys, which were e-mailed and must be completed and returned by Aug. 15. A similar survey will be sent to the family members of service members around the first week in August.

Although the identity of all those who respond will remain confidential, there is a separate link within the survey for those gay or lesbian service members, who wish to provide additional comment without fear of being singled out and separated from the service as required by the existing law.

Once the surveys are completed and analyzed, the Pentagon has until Dec. 1 to come up with an implementation plan for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the open service of gay and lesbian service members.