CNN Senior National Security Producer
Washington (CNN) - It cost more than $193 million for the Pentagon to implement the policy of removing gays and lesbians from military service over six years, a study says.
The Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog agency, looked at the cases of 3,664 active duty personnel forced to leave the service from 2004 to 2009 because of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
The cost came to an average of $52,800 to take each person out of the military and find and train a replacement, it found. And the report released Thursday says that 40% of those service members had skills in a "critical" occupation or foreign language such as Arabic, or both.
"Our calculation includes the cost to the services to recruit a new service member, provide him or her with basic training and graduate the service member from initial skills training in the occupational specialty in which a service member had been separated," the report said.
Of the cases examined by the GAO, 39%, or 1,442, service members who were removed under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy held "critical occupations" such as infantryman. Less than 1%, 23, had foreign language skills, like Arabic or Spanish, according to the report.
But the GAO noted that the number of people with critical skills and occupations might be even higher because of problems compiling the information.
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