As we all know, the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy represented only part of the story. Now, the President, in association with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, must certify the actual repeal, which would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly. There’s also a 30-day waiting period thrown in after certification for good measure (I believe the late Robert Byrd requested that as a condition of his initial vote for the defense authorization bill).
There has been some concern in the LGBT community that this certification process would be drawn out by the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Gates addressed the issue yesterday.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wants military leaders to start training troops about the formal end to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in a “very few weeks,” he said Thursday.
He said Pentagon officials are working on a three-part plan: overhauling applicable military personnel policy and benefits, providing training for top brass and military chaplains, and then formally instructing the nation’s 2.2 million troops on the ban’s repeal.
Troop training will be done “as expeditiously as we can,” Gates said, but it will prove challenging, because “there’s just a certain element of physics associated with the number of people involved in this process.” He did not elaborate.
So nobody’s giving a timeline, but I gather there’s a sense that people are actually watching this and making sure the repeal doesn’t get slow-walked. John Aravosis proclaimed that the remarks by Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen “sound promising.”
I would expect this gets done by the summer.