On the 12th anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced an effort to make it more accessible and efficient for veterans who were discharged based on their sexual orientation to obtain corrective relief. This includes the launch of a new web platform that consolidates DADT resources.
“Over the past decade, we’ve tried to make it easier for servicemembers discharged based on their sexual orientation to obtain corrective relief,” Austin said in a statement. “While this process can be difficult to navigate, we are working to make it more accessible and efficient. In the coming weeks, we will be initiating new outreach campaigns to encourage all servicemembers and veterans who believe they have suffered an error or injustice to seek correction to their military records.”
During a Pentagon briefing earlier today, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks provided more details about her department’s new initiative. “DoD will, for the first time, begin proactively reviewing the military records of veterans discharged because of their sexual orientation, who may be eligible for discharge upgrades, but have not yet applied,” she said. “We’ll start with those discharged during the period of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Where the VA and the National Archives might have digitized records that can help expedite our review, we’ll seek to collaborate with them. And when we find indications that someone’s less-than-honorable discharge was due to their sexual orientation, we’ll put their name forward to their respective military department’s review board for consideration. As we do this, we will be laser-focused on preserving the privacy and dignity of each veteran.”