How Long Will it Take to Implement Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?

A bit of guidance from Politico:

Dadt The service chiefs wanted to have more than a year to implement the new policy, citing the need to train the force and prepare it for “open service,” according to a source close to the matter.

Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, for example, may demand that physical modifications be made to accommodate concerns among some Marines about showering with other Marines who are serving openly. All of this could take time.

Amos may have backing on Capitol Hill, where Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), a former Marine, has been pushing the Pentagon to phase in any new policy. Webb said in a statement last week that Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed to him that implementation would be “sequenced in order to protect small unit cohesion.”

“We have not determined the specific methodology that would be used should this legislation pass, but I can assure you that the specific concerns that you raise will be foremost in my mind as we develop an implementation plan,” Gates told Webb in a Dec. 17 letter. “Further, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I remain committed to work closely with the Service Chiefs and the Combatant Commanders in developing this process.”

The Palm Center says repeal implementation should be swift and decisive, in a statement released on Saturday:

"Today, the Palm Center salutes the U.S. Senate for this courageous vote, which will improve national security and allow gay and lesbian troops to be treated with the same dignity as their straight counterparts. This is a historic day for the military and for the American tradition of civil rights, but this process does not end here. We expect the Pentagon to shortly announce its demand for a lengthy period of training and education to prepare the troops for open gay service, possibly lasting though much of 2011, before repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' can be certified.

The Palm Center will imminently release a study showing that this demand is not based on actual military needs. In fact, the Pentagon has the capacity to train the forces immediately, within a matter of weeks. The RAND Corporation's research has found that the way to minimize any disruption from the implementation of open gay service is to proceed quickly and with strong leadership. Only three steps are needed to assure a smooth and quick transition to open gay service: an immediate executive order from President Obama suspending all discharges; a few weeks to put the new regulations in place; and following this, immediate certification to end ‘don't ask, don't tell.'"

 The NYT has some further guidance: Gates

“There will certainly be pressure to get it done in 2011,” one defense official said, indicating that repeal will be a relatively slow but not years-long process.

Phasing in the repeal by service branch, with some parts of the military affected before others, was “highly unlikely,” said the official, who asked for anonymity to talk more freely about internal deliberations at the Pentagon.

Under the terms of the legislation that passed the Senate on Saturday and the House earlier last week, the Defense Department will not carry out the repeal until Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates , Mr. Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “certify” that the military is ready to make the change. After that, the legislation requires a 60-day period before the change takes place.

Gay rights advocates said Sunday that repeal should be carried out as quickly as possible, preferably in the first quarter of next year.

Mr. Gates has acknowledged that the president will be watching closely “to ensure that we don’t dawdle or try to slow-roll this” and that Mr. Obama expects the military to prepare “as quickly as we properly and comprehensively could.”


  1. Paul R says

    The Palm Center is delusional in thinking or expecting that this will (and possibly could) be done in a matter of weeks. It’s essentially a personnel policy affecting millions of people all over the world. DADT has been a detested policy for 17 years, but gays in the military weren’t exactly embraced before that, either.

    I’m not saying the Pentagon should be allowed to dawdle, but it does take a while to develop plans that pander to the concerns of all, especially the childish Marine leaders and supporters. (Webb is a very difficult politician to read.) If there’s backlash, for example, openly gay soldiers could “accidentally” be killed by their peers. Sad to say, but true—it’s happened before.

  2. terry says

    Gen Amos has no right to demand anything. Follow the law and implement or leave. Straight guys check each other out in the showers all the time. Yes it could be implemented over night because gays will act the same way tomorrow as they did yesterday. It’s not a big deal. We are not animals holding back our lust. We just want to put a picture of our BF on the inside of our locker door.

  3. nick says

    The elephant in the room is the Xtian fundamentalist ideology that permeates the military and the percentage of chaplains in the service who openly condemn gay people.
    They will foster an atmosphere of hate and bigotry and will not go quietly. This is far from over.

  4. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Part of the “implementation strategy” will be some quiet retirements, several lateral transfers, and a few splashy public firings of high-ranking foot- (and knuckle-) draggers…starting with a certain USMC General Officer.

  5. Joshua says

    They can’t phase it in. Why? Personnel transfers. PCS.

    The military is transient. How do you deal with a gay guy who is allowed to be gay in one unit, then transfers to a unit where teh ghey hasn’t been “phased in” yet?

    C’mon, we appoint you guys to leadership because you’re supposedly smart. This E-6 totally has the drop on you.

  6. Anonymous Mouse says

    LOL @ Shower Issues. So if you stay in the closet you can ‘lust after’ all those ‘hot marines’. The bigots are just trying to do all that they can to ensure that gays are mistreated for as long as possible.

  7. GregV says

    The idea that it takes time to implement is stupidity. Send out a memo to say that whether any employee is known to be gay, straight or bisexual and whether he or she is known to have a male or female partner back home is no longer considered any of the employer’s business. Done!

    This idea that Amos may want showers changed because of the fear that someone who is known to be gay may be peeking at the others is insulting and juvenile.
    When I came out to my friends, a couple of them talked to me about the shower room (where, they, the straight guys, had ALWAYS made far more comments about the shape of each others’ bodies than I ever would). They said, “I can just imagine what it would be like if I were in a shower room with all nude women. Why do you never get a hard on in there?”
    I told them that would be like a Saudi asking an American why he does not walk down the sidewalk with a hard on when he can freely see women’s ankles and faces. We’ve been showering and using toilet facilities with others of our own sex since day one of our lives. We’re as used to it as they are, and we know how to behave appropriately in that situation just as they know how when they see women walking down the street.
    They didn’t have a problem showering with me, even after that; they were just curious.

    On the view this morning, Elisabeth said they’ll have to spend money making non-communal showers. Barbara Walters said she doesn’t care what they have to do; it’s about time DADT was dropped. I don’t know why none of them mentioned how insulting and irrational this idea is that if you KNOW someone is gay then you need to be protected from them.

  8. Danny says

    Ignorant fools like Amos and those like him operate under the assumption that all gay men are rapists. They really need to outgrow their adolescent bullshit. But I guess that’s asking too much of the commandant of the Marine Corps.

  9. Danny says

    part of the irony of this is that those most closely affected are those who have the least problem with serving with gay people.

    The fact that resistance is highest among the Marines can mean only one thing: the percentage of gays in the Marine Corps is higher than in any other branch of the military.

    Or to put it another way, the louder they scream the louder they scream.

  10. Poor Richard says

    I have never been in the military so could some current troop or vet answere a question for me please. I saw a quote from a Military Chaplain to the effect that “Chaplains would quit in droves because this policy licenced sin and he could not do his job if forced to accept homosexuals”. Also “good Christian boys would quit in large numbers and good Christian boys would not enlist”. My question is what is the job of the Chaplain in the military? My knowledge in this area is alot of MASH reruns. How can these people render comfort, council, advise to these young men and women if they view anyone not of their particular religious sect as sinners. How do these fundies currently do their jobs effectively with Jews,Muslims,Mormons,Catholics,agnostics,atheists ? Are they simply telling all these kids your beliefs are lies you are going to hell, get out of my office. Are federal tax dollars being spent to promote a specific religion view? I am not trying to be snarky, these really are serious questions.

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