Tension over what constitutes proper religious expression within the United States military has significantly intensified over the past decade. This paper examines and analyzes recent reports and several prominent cases, revealing how religiously motivated behavior has increased over the years and remains either tacitly or overtly endorsed by senior military leaders. In light of increasing religious fundamentalism within the ranks, coupled with a lack of social and political will to affect change, the cultural reticence to hold commanders accountable for inappropriate behavior remains an obstacle. The paper concludes with actionable recommendations.
Seventeen years after 10 USC 654 banned openly gay service members on the grounds of negative impacts to unit cohesion, military effectiveness, morale, good order and discipline, the United States officially military ended "don't ask, don't tell." During this period, significant evidence emerged from the actions of other western US allies revealing that the biggest story of repeal was no story at all. Remaining quietly behind the public discourse, many political and senior military leaders refused to acknowledge the evidence that ran contrary to the fundamental arguments set forth in the current policy. The most notable effect is a persistent gap between the martial masculine values inherent in military culture and the evolving attitudes towards the society that pays the bills. Although DADT repeal has been treated as a policy issue, the reality is that until military leaders acknowledge it as a leadership issue, inequity between the demographics within the armed forces will persist.