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 News Article

Gates Outlines ‘Don’t Ask’ Repeal Process

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday described the Pentagon’s three-step process for preparing to allow gays to serve openly in the military services.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates makes a point during a Jan. 6, 2011, Pentagon news conference with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

At a Pentagon news conference with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gates updated reporters on the department’s plan for implementing repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, which has been in effect since 1993 and remains in effect until the process is complete.

“Our goal here is to move as quickly, but as responsibly, as possible,” Gates said. “I see this as a three-step process. The first is to finalize changes in regulations [and] policies [and] get clearer definition on benefits.”

The second phase is to prepare training materials for use by personnel specialists, chaplains, commanders and other leaders, and those who are in daily contact with service members, he said.

The third phase, the secretary explained, is the actual training for service members.

“We're trying to get the first two phases of that process done as quickly as possible,” he said. “My hope is that it can be done within a matter of a very few weeks, so that we can then move on to what is the real challenge, which is providing training to 2.2 million people.”

The House of Representatives passed legislation in May that called for the president, defense secretary and Joint Chiefs chairman to certify the implementation plan before the repeal takes effect. On Nov. 30, Pentagon officials released the report of a working group that reviewed issues associated with a potential repeal. And on Dec. 18, the Senate voted 65-31 for repeal, and President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law Dec. 22.

Gates said Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, is leading the effort.

“I have asked Undersecretary Stanley to accelerate the first two phases of this process as much as he possibly can so that we can get on with the training process,” the secretary said.

Mullen said the legislation specifies that the repeal will take effect only after he, Gates and Obama certify that new policies and implementing regulations are consistent with standards of military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and retention.

“From my perspective,” the chairman said, now is not the time to ‘come out,’ if you will,” noting that even after the required certification takes place, the present law will remain in effect for 60 more days. “We'll get through this. We'll do it deliberately. We certainly are focused on this, and we won't dawdle.”


Contact Author

Robert M. Gates
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

Related Sites:
Special Report: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
News Conference Transcript


Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

3/29/2011 4:49:27 PM
As an active duty military officer, I am encouraged by the legislation to repeal Section 654 of Title 10, commonly known as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. I firmly believe that this repeal action is long overdue and that the viewpoints or arguments against its repeal are based on bias and moral beliefs that bears no credible weight in the argument. What we (Americans) most often learn from these large transformational changes to the military is that in matters of personnel change (within the military)…surveys and predictions too often OVERESTIMATE the negative consequences and UNDERESTIMATE the U.S. military’s ability to adapt and incorporate within its ranks the diversity that is reflective of American society at large. As the full repeal of the law commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” takes effect, I firmly believe that America will look back on this legislation and wonder why all the fuss was created in the first place… v/r Cameron Stokes MAJ, SP
- Cameron Stokes, Ft. Lee, VA (ILE/SG Delta)

1/16/2011 2:04:34 AM
A major question that no one seems to be interested in is how this might affect transgendered service members. Will they, too, be able to come out? The Canadian military has a very progressive policy in this sense; will we follow suit, or will we ignore that issue until another time?
- Kelly, Ft. Anonymous

1/10/2011 1:45:15 PM
(1 of 2 Posts) As an active duty Captain who recently commanded a combat arms unit, I am encouraged to see the process for implementing the changes in DADT are being treated with care and caution. It's my opinion that this change in policy will be unlike previous integration efforts of the armed forces and presents unique challenges. There are three clear steps, but I see them running concurrently. Training /education, in my opinion, will be the critical foundation upon which everything else will build. While none of us have any issues with the idea of a homosexual beside us in the foxhole, as long as he/she can shoot, there are concerns among some junior leaders and Soldiers (I can only speak for the ones I led) about how specifics of the policy will play out. The following post has several concerns my peers, subordinates, and I have discussed. This is in no way complete and reflects my opinions.

1/7/2011 3:33:16 PM
What kind of training will be given to CIS, NIS, and OSI?
- captainlarab, Washington, DC

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