An Uninformed Debate on Military Culture

A decade of debate and legislation in Washington designed to change the “military culture” of our armed forces has not been in vain. The number of African-American and female officers and enlisted persons has increased dramatically, women now hold scores of jobs reserved for men just a few years ago, and President Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has given homosexuals executive sanction to serve in our armed forces. During the same time, serious failures by the officer corps of two services have focused national attention on isolated incidents of sexual harassment that indicate to many the need for further reform. The most recent example of the continuing attempts to reform military cultures flowed from the celebrated cases of Air Force Lieutenant Kelly Flint-r and Army Major General David Hale, and resulted in the attempt by the secretary of defense to standardize across the services the official sanctions imposed for adultery and fraternization.

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