Last month, with little fanfare or notice, the Department of Defense quietly revised its official position on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,

Granted, that has been true since 1992, when a presidential executive order added sexual orientation to the federal government’s non-discrimination policy (for everyone, that is, except uniformed personnel).  However, it was not until last month – as the Pentagon faces a dire shortage of good recruits and is forced by law to fire and turn away gay Americans who want to serve – that DoD elected to explicitly point out the option.

And no wonder.  According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the military has fired nearly 800 men and women with ‘mission-critical’ skills, including more than 300 language experts, 58 of whom were Arabic specialists.  All the while, report after report suggests a shortage of Arabic translators on the ground in Iraq is significantly hindering efforts there.

Military leaders, including retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John Shalikashvili, are increasingly speaking out against the ban.  And with its new statement on the issue, the Department of Defense itself may be sending a not-so-subtle message to Congress that, even inside the halls of the Pentagon, support for the law is fading fast.