The Rise of Repeal: Policy Entrepreneurship and Don't Ask, Don't Tell

TitleThe Rise of Repeal: Policy Entrepreneurship and Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNeff, Christopher L., and Luke R. Edgell
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Date Published02/2013

In this article, the authors report on policy entrepreneurship by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and how its legislative strategies used mini-windows of opportunity to shift Capitol Hill perspectives of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) from political plutonium to an emerging issue requiring a second look. Four phases in the legislative history of DADT are identified: radioactive, contested, emerging, and viable. In all, this article argues that SLDN's entrepreneurship focused on contesting congressional sensibilities to wait or defer on repeal, maintained that every discharge was damaging and transitioned toward a post-repeal mind set. Finally, the authors illustrate the importance of these transitions by comparing SLDN's 2004 estimated vote count for the introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act with the final 2010 voting results on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act. 

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