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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 042-00
February 01, 2000

SECRETARY COHEN APPROVES SERVICES HOMOSEXUAL CONDUCT TRAINING PLANS

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced today that he has received and approved each of the military Services' updated training plans on the Department's homosexual conduct policy. The updated plans incorporate the guidelines for investigating threats against or harassment of servicemembers based on perceived or alleged homosexuality.

"I am very pleased with the effort that went into updating the Services' training materials. These plans make it very clear to recruits, service members, and to law enforcement personnel, commanders, judge advocates, and investigators that are charged with implementing the policy, that there is no room for harassment or threats in the military."

Cohen also noted that he had directed the Defense Department Inspector General to conduct an assessment of the environment at representative installations within each department with respect to the application of the homosexual conduct policy. He said that, as part of that assessment, the Inspector General would review the extent to which harassment may occur and the extent to which disparaging speech or expression with respect to sexual orientation is tolerated. Cohen said, "I will receive the results of that review by March 13 and make a judgment as to whether any additional actions may be needed." The Secretary emphasized that "service members need to understand that harassment for any reason will not be tolerated and commanders will take prompt, appropriate action against individuals involved in such behavior."

The Services' plans also included implementing guidance that required the following actions:

1. Inspectors general will include as an item of specific interest in their inspections the training of those charged with application and enforcement of the homosexual conduct policy;

2. Installation staff judge advocates will consult with senior legal officers prior to the initiation of an investigation into alleged homosexual conduct; and

3. Military Department secretarial-level approval will be obtained prior to the initiation of any substantial investigation into whether a servicemember made a statement regarding his or her homosexuality for the purpose of seeking separation.