SANTA BARBARA, Calif., July 8 (UPI) -- A study by senior U.S. military leaders urges the end to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays serving in the armed forces.
The report, commissioned by the Palm Center at the University of California-Santa Barbara, included 10 findings and four recommendations, the research center said on its Web site.
Key findings include the policy prevents some gay service personnel from performing their duties, gays already serve openly and "military attitudes" toward gays and lesbians are changing.
"Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion," the report said.
The report by retired military personnel recommended Congress return authority for personnel policy under the "don't ask, don't tell" law to the Defense Department. In addition, the report recommended that Defense Department directives' language be neutral regarding sexual orientation and set up safeguards to maintain confidentiality between service members and chaplains, doctors and mental health professionals.
Any changes to existing policy "must not create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces' high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability," the study group said.