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Defense Sec'y Gates Urged to Certify 'DADT' Repeal This Month as Reports Suggest Half of Military is Trained

Half the armed forces, more than a million U.S. troops, have been trained on repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", according to the AP:

Iraq_gates Military officials say they see no adverse impact on the force so far....Pentagon officials say there’s been no widespread resistance; no mad rush for the door by those opposed, and — importantly — no drop in recruiting. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the Pentagon is still assessing when it will be ready to completely end the policy.

Advocates of open service are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to certify repeal before he retires at the end of the month, the Washington Blade reports:

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said certification is essential this month before Gates leaves his duties at the Pentagon.

“I think that we need to get certification this month before Secretary Gates leaves,” Sarvis said. “My fear is we’re seeing an overabundance of caution here. If it doesn’t happen this month on Secretary Gates’ watch, I think we could easily be looking at another month or two before certification.”

Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said the passing the opportunity for implementing repeal would be a “very unwise” move for Gates and predicated that certification would happen this month.

The White House says it is not concerned about 'DADT' repeal and the arrival of a new Defense Secretary.

And Pam Spaulding posts a letter that Reps. Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, and David Cicilline, the four openly gay members of Congress, have sent to President Obama urging him to make it clear that he would veto any Defense bill that comes his way from the Senate containing language intended to undermine repeal of 'DADT'.

Says the letter:

"But because this issue is so important in so many ways, we think it would be the best course for you to reaffirm your strong support of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by making it explicit that you would veto a bill in the unlikely event that it came to you, which undermined the decision that you led us to make last year - namely a military that does not discriminate unfairly and does not turn away patriotic, productive Americans seeking to serve their country."

Read the full letter at Pam's House Blend.


Gates: Troops Who Disagree with Military Policy on Gays Must Complete Enlistment 'Like Everybody Else'

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Marines in Afghanistan that troops won't be able to opt-out of their enlistment just because they disagree with gays serving openly in the military.

Gates Gates made the remarks on a farewell trip to Afghanistan, Reuters reports:

"Sir, we joined the Marine Corps because the Marine Corps has a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector. And we have gone and changed those values and repealed the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," the sergeant told Gates during the question and answer session.

"We have not given the Marines a chance to decide whether they wish to continue serving under that. Is there going to be an option for those Marines that no longer wish to serve due to the fact their moral values have not changed?" he asked.

"No," Gates responded. "You'll have to complete your ... enlistment just like everybody else."

"The reality is that you don't all agree with each other on your politics, you don't agree with each other on your religion, you don't agree with each other on a lot of things," he added. "But you still serve together. And you work together. And you look out for each other. And that's all that matters."

The U.S. Army recently launched a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' website with narration, scripts, frequently asked questions, vignettes, DoD policy guidance, implementation plans and service-specific material.


Watch: Defense Sec'y Gates Tells Troops in Iraq They Will Notice Little Change Following 'DADT' Repeal

Iraq_gates

The service chiefs weren't the only officials addressing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal today. On his trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told troops that they would notice little change following repeal of 'DADT'.

Said Gates during a question and answer session: "My guess is you won't see much change at all, because the whole thrust of the training is you're supposed to go on treatin' everybody like you're supposed to be treatin' everybody now — with dignity, respect, and discipline.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Defense Sec'y Gates Tells Troops in Iraq They Will Notice Little Change Following 'DADT' Repeal" »


Gates Instructs Defense Dept. to Accelerate 'DADT' Repeal

Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants training to begin as soon as possible, and has ordered the Defense Department to accelerate the steps it will take to reach that point, Stars and Stripes reports:

Gates Gates in a Pentagon press conference revealed a three-step plan: finalize changes in related regulations and policies, and get clearer definitions on benefits; prepare training materials for chaplains, lawyers, commanders and troops; and then begin to train servicemembers worldwide.

“We’re trying to get the first two phases of that process done as quickly as possible,” Gates said, adding he has instructed Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley to accelerate his efforts. “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. And we will do that as expeditiously as we can.”

Still, Joint Service Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen said it was still not safe for troops to come out. Said Mullen: "We certainly are focused on this and we won’t dawdle.”

Watch the press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

(clip via think progress)

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In DADT Report Writer's Family History, Shades Of Today

Jehjohnson Big names like Sen. John McCain, Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates dominated Don't Ask, Don't Tell news stories last week, leaving one important man largely in the shadows, Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department's general counsel and co-writer of the Pentagon's pivotal repeal report.

Reporter Elisabeth Bumiller recently sat down with Johnson, and in today's New York Times offers some familial background to the lawyer's current work.

That background, peppered with racial discrimination in the military, helps illuminate how a DADT repeal would work today.

In addition to touching on Johnson's work as Air Force counsel under the Clinton Administration, and the fact that he was the first black partner at his former law firm, Bumiller reveals that Johnson's grandfather was a Tuskegee Airman -- African-American pilots who flew in World War II --  imprisoned for ten days after participating in the Freeman Field Mutiny, a 1945 protest in which black airmen tried to cross the racial lines at a whites-only officers' club. President Truman integrated the troops three years later, in 1948.

While Johnson makes clear that anti-gay and racist discrimination are different, with race being far more obvious and therefore a "self-identifier," he does tell Bumiller that there are many parallels between an armed force segregated by color and one segregated by sexuality, particularly with regard to our military's collective ability to conform.

Continue reading "In DADT Report Writer's Family History, Shades Of Today" »


Watch: Defense Sec'y Gates Remarks on Pentagon 'DADT' Report

Gates

In case you missed our earlier LIVE coverage of the Pentagon press briefing on today's 'DADT' report, here are some highlights from Defense Secretary Robert Gates assessment of the study (via The Wonk Room), in which he practically pleads with Congress to repeal the law before the courts do it for them.

Gates also said this of his personal support for repeal:

"One of the things that is most important to me is personal integrity. And a policy and a law that in effect requires people to lie gives me a problem. We spend a lot of time in the military talking about integrity and honor and values. Telling the truth is a pretty important value in that scale. It’s a very important value and so for me…A policy that requires people to lie about themselves somehow seems to me fundamentally flawed."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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