‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Cost Taxpayers Nearly $400 Million, GAO Reports

Jan 20, 2011 6:27pm

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports:  One month after President Obama signed a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” government accountants have finished tallying up how much the policy cost taxpayers during the 16 years it was in effect. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday that each discharge of a gay or lesbian service member over the past six years alone cost $52,800, including administrative costs and costs to recruit and train a replacement. The removal of 3,664 service members total between 2004 and 2009 cost taxpayers an estimated $193.3 million. The latest figures follow a 2005 GAO study that put the cost of the first decade of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at $190.1 million. More than 13,000 service members have been discharged for violating the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian troops since 1993, according to GAO. The reports note 2,215 of those men and women held “critical” roles in the service branches, including voice interceptors, data processing technicians, translators and special security forces.

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