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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the 10th Anniversary of the Repeal of ''Don't Ask, Don’t Tell''

The 10th anniversary today of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reminds us that when we strive for greater inclusivity, we help strengthen our nation’s defenses.  By insisting on standards of merit and allowing to serve in uniform all those who are qualified, we avail ourselves of more talent, better leaders and innovative solutions to the security challenges we face around the world. 

We are also reminded today that we have more work to do, particularly as it relates to righting old wrongs.  No veteran should bear a less than honorable discharge based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity.  So, for those who believe they were unjustly discharged or retain an error in a service record, please contact your military department's Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records or Discharge Review Board. 

As Secretary of Defense, I am committed to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion across the force.  It makes us more representative of the nation we defend.  It makes us wiser.  And, without question, it makes us stronger.  On behalf of the entire Department, I thank our LGBTQ+ service members -- and your families -- for the service you render each and every day.