Elaine Donnelly

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Elaine Donnelly is founder and President of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), an independent public policy organization that specializes in military personnel issues, emphasizing that the military should not be " used for political purposes or social experiments that needlessly elevate risks, detract from readiness, or degrade American cultural values."[1] A political conservative who received the American Conservative Union’s 2002 Ronald Reagan Award, she has referred to President Barack Obama's policy of permitting gays in the military to be "a reckless campaign promise."[2]

She has participated in educational programs sponsored by the United States Naval Institute, Hillsdale College, the Foreign Policy Institute, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heritage Foundation and Independent Women’s Forum.

Gender and the military

In the Reagan Administration, she was a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (1984-1986), appointed by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces.[3] She criticized the testimony of Gen. Rhonda Cornum to that commission, challenged Cornum's withholding the information on her sexual abuse as a prisoner of war prior to testifying, suggesting she was generating publicity for her book. [4] Cornum said that her command had directed her not to reveal the information after she was repatriated, citing the sensitivity of diplomacy involving Iraq.

CMR, in 2004, stated "Soldiers are recruited from the civilian world, where “male bashing” has become commonplace. According to the Associated Press, violence among girls, including vicious fights at birthday parties and dances, has increased dramatically. Popular films celebrate “mean girls,” and some lines of greeting cards promote man-hating as a joke. Now we see a wickedly demeaning, poster-perfect photo of a female soldier looking down on a naked Iraqi man tethered on a leash. The war between the sexes, provoked by mutual resentments, has just gone nuclear. "[5]On Frank Gaffney, Jr.'s Secure Freedom Radio show, characterized misconduct at Abu Ghraib prison as caused by

Umm, what was that Abu Ghraib scandal all about? It started out as misconduct between men and women and then it steadily deteriorated into abuse of prisoners. The common denominator is lack of discipline. [6]

In the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, she wrote about what she terms "Double Standards Involving Women," or "DSIW."

Studies of gender in the military usually center on women, but the subject cannot be discussed without also analyzing the men who make and implement the policies designed by social engineers. When feminists and their allies demand policies "for women," Pentagon policymakers appear to become defensive and lose perspective. Men, it seems, cannot objectively deal with issues involving women. In turn, social engineers take advantage of the Pentagon's defensiveness by trying to suspend, circumvent, or redefine standard principles, including the concept of "equality."[7]

Sexuality and the military

In July 2008 she presented testimony on the issue of homosexuals in the military before the House Armed Services Committee. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote it "Donnelly treated the panel to an extraordinary exhibition of rage. She warned of 'transgenders in the military.' She warned that lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower. She spoke ominously of gays spreading 'HIV positivity'through the ranks...[it] seemed to have unified the lawmakers -- against her." He mentioned that Rep. Chris Shays R-Connecticut) was especially angry. [8] Les Kinsolving, of WorldNetDaily, said the committee was discourteous to her, and Milbank "editorially eviscerated" her. Kinsolving concluded with the rhetorical question, "Will the parents of youngsters considering being recruited by our armed forces be comforted and reassured by knowing that if their son is raped by a homosexual officer or non-com, that this sodomist will be court-martialed?"[9]

At the February 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, she said

President Barack Obama has ordered Pentagon leaders to promote his gays-in-the-military cause. On February 2, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We have received our orders from the commander in chief and are moving out accordingly.” Secretary Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said nothing about possible benefits for the military. Instead, Secretary Gates promised to “minimize disruption and polarization,” and to “mitigate” negative consequences for “unit cohesion, recruiting [and] retention.” Adm. Mullen admitted he did not know what repeal would mean, but spoke (for himself only) in favor of policies known to be disruptive. Adm. Mullen called this “leadership,” but it looked like letting down the troops to me. [10]


  1. About CMR, Center for Military Readiness
  2. Elaine Donnelly (1 February 2010), "Misusing the Military", National Review
  3. Elaine Donnelly's Bio, Center for Military Readiness
  4. "Did Col. Cornum shape debate on women in combat?", Center for Military Readiness, 3 January 2002
  5. Mean Girls in the Military, Center for Military Readiness, 18 May 2004
  6. Frank Gaffney, Jr. (25 January 2010), Top DADT Advocate Says Abu Ghraib Abuses Happened Because Women Are Allowed In The Military, Secure Freedom Radio
  7. Elaine Donnelly, "Constructing the Co-Ed Military", Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy 14: 815
  8. Dana Milbank (24 July 2008), "Sorry We Asked, Sorry You Told", Washington Post
  9. Les Kinsolving (29 July 2008), "A Washington Post smear of Elaine Donnelly", WorldNetDaily
  10. Elaine Donnelly (18 February 2010), The LGBT Law for the Military: How Does This Improve Military Readiness?, Center for Military Readiness