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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 568-99
December 13, 1999

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DIRECTS ASSESSMENT OF EXTENT OF HARASSMENT

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced today that he has directed the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General to initiate an assessment of the environment at representative installations within each military Department with respect to the application of the homosexual conduct policy. The assessment will include a review of the extent to which the harassment of service members based on perceived or alleged homosexuality may occur. The extent to which disparaging speech or expression with respect to sexual orientation occurs or is tolerated will also be assessed. Cohen asked to receive the Inspector General's assessment within 90 days.

"As I have previously indicated, I am determined that the policy on homosexual conduct in the military be clearly understood and fairly enforced," Cohen said. "This is critically important, as the effectiveness of the Department's application and enforcement of the policy has a direct relationship to unit cohesion and readiness."

In August, following an extensive review of the implementation of the homosexual conduct policy, the DoD issued additional guidance intended to improve the application and enforcement of the policy.

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