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Argument: Professional troops can work with gays and focus on mission

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In 2000, a research brief from the Rand Corporation concluded that "it is not necessary to like someone to work with him or her, so long as members share a commitment to the group’s objectives."[1]


Om Prakash. "The Efficacy of Don't Ask Don't Tell." Winning essay of the 2009 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition: "Though unit cohesion is not specifically defined in §654, it does refer to “bonds of trust,” the sum being greater than the individuals, and “high standards of morale, good order and discipline.” of U.S. Army Terms defines unit cohesion as the “result of controlled, interactive forces that lead to solidarity within military units directing soldiers towards common goals with an express commitment to one another and the unit as a whole.”18 As psychologists explored the concepts, experimental and correlation evidence supported dividing cohesion into two distinct types: social cohesion and task cohesion. Social cohesion is the nature and quality of the emotional bonds within a group—the degree to which members spend time together, like each other, and feel close. Task cohesion refers to the shared commitment and motivation of the group to a goal requiring a collective effort.19 When measuring unit performance, task cohesion ends up being the decisive factor in group performance. Common sense would suggest a group that gets along (that is, has high social cohesion) would perform better. Almost counterintuitively, it has been shown that in some situations, high social cohesion is actually deleterious to the group decisionmaking process, leading to the coining of the famous term groupthink. This does not imply that low social cohesion is advantageous, but that moderate levels are optimal.20 Several factors contribute to cohesion. For social cohesion, the most important factors are propinquity—spatial and temporal proximity—and homogeneity. For task cohesion cohesion, the factors include leadership, group size, shared threat, and past success. Interestingly, success seems to promote cohesion to a greater degree than cohesion promotes success.21 This leads to the conclusion that integration of open homosexuals might degrade social cohesion because of the lack of homogeneity; however, the effects can be mitigated with leadership and will further dissipate with familiarity. More importantly, task cohesion should not be affected and is in fact the determinant in group success. Given that homosexuals who currently serve do so at great personal expense and professional risk, RAND interviews suggest such individuals are deeply committed to the military’s core values, professional teamwork, physical stamina, loyalty, and selfless service—all key descriptors of task cohesion."

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