DADT and the Troops

| Tue Feb. 16, 2010 7:55 PM EST

McClatchy's Nancy Youssef reports that, for the most part, the issue of allowing gays to serve openly in the military mostly just elicits yawns from those who are actually in the military:

Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was nearing the end of a 25-minute question and answer session with troops serving here when he raised a topic of his own: "No one's asked me about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" he said....Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Darryl E. Robinson, who's the operations coordinator for defense attache's office at the U.S. Embassy here, explained why after the session. "The U.S. military was always at the forefront of social change," he said. "We didn't wait for laws to change."

....Indeed, since Mullen appeared on Capitol Hill earlier this month and told a stunned Congress that in his personal view, gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve, the response among members of the military has been little more than a shrug.

After Tuesday's question-and-answer session, Mullen told McClatchy that although he's held three town hall sessions with troops since his testimony, not a single service member has asked him about the issue.

Among the senior officer corps, which trends more conservative and comes from an older generation, there might still be a fair amount of anxiety about ending DADT. But among the enlisted troops, I'll bet that even those who say they oppose repeal of DADT don't really feel very strongly about it. They grew up in an environment where it's just not that big a deal anymore, and when DADT is finally repealed, it won't be that big a deal in the military either.