February 11, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Pentagon unveils ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal plan

The Pentagon on Friday officially unveiled an implementation plan for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that focuses on policy, education and training and communication as the way forward in lifting the military’s gay ban.

In a redacted memorandum dated Feb. 10, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness Clifford Stanley provides the military service secretaries with the repeal plan and pledges to work with them to “solidify the format of progress updates as well as the frequency of leadership meets.”

The four-page memo states that the secretaries have until March 1 to provide their first progress update to Stanley.

Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tasked Stanley with devising a plan by Feb. 4 to “facilitate the timely and orderly realization” of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

The plan breaks down the path for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal into four stages: pre-repeal, certification, implementation and sustainment.

In the pre-repeal phase, activities include Tier 1 and Tier 2 level training of military leadership and reporting to Obama administration officials on the progress of implementation. For example, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness must have a monthly meeting and report to the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the status of repeal.

To reach the certification phase, the Repeal Implementation Team must provide appropriate documentation to the defense secretary and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and provide their recommendation to the president.

President Obama signed legislation allowing for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal on Dec. 22, but the new law won’t take effect until the president, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify the military is ready. Additionally, after certification takes place, a 60-day waiting period must pass before the ban is formally lifted.

Notably, the plan states the previously mentioned idea that Tier 3 training, education of the total force, can be completed after the certification for repeal is issued.

For the implementation phase, Tier 3 training will be completed and the Repeal Implementation Team will provide progress reports every two months to Pentagon leaders.

The sustainment phase involves making policy changes as needed and refining the education and training process.

Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Defense Department intends to issue commanders in the field with the education and training tools on the post-repeal environment.

“The training materials were developed based upon the [Pentagon working group's] Support Plan for Implementation (SIP), and packaged in such a way to facilitate low bandwidth and non-traditional training settings and include power point slides with narration, scripts, FAQs, vignettes, policy documents, etc.,” she said.

Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said the repeal implementation plan “lays out a comprehensive and deliberate path forward for implementing this policy change throughout the force.”

“In typical military fashion, the plan is quite thorough and some steps may seem unnecessary or redundant, but overall we believe this plan continues to show a good faith effort on the part of the Department of Defense to swiftly move forward with training, certification, and repeal,” Nicholson said.

Download a copy of the Pentagon plan here.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

5 Comments
  • Hmmm. We see Mr. Nicholson is still kissing ass when he should be kicking it. Instead of singing “Kumbaya” and hoping for more ‘Smores, every genuine advocate for gay equality should be repeating what Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin told your readers last month—that the Pentagon could end the ban NOW “if there was the political will” [READ: Obama hadn't sold his soul to bigots in the Pentagon].

    Training? Even assuming there is REALLY a need to say litte more than: “ATTENTION: yesterday we banned out gays. Today we don’t. There will be Zero Tolerance for cooperation. Paperwork to follow. Dismissed!” let’s revisit the Palm Center’s December study:

    “Any claim that [implementation cannot happen] until after the completion of exhaustive training is inconsistent with DoD history and not based on military necessity. Whatever preparations are ultimately deemed necessary, the Pentagon ought to be able to pull them off faster than it did the implementation of DADT in 1994, which took approximately 40 days. [C]ase studies demonstrate that training can take place quickly, even in combat zones, and that policies are generally implemented BEFORE OR CONCURRENT WITH training. The Pentagon’s request for up to a year to train the troops prior to the repeal of DADT is unprecedented. Training is not a prerequisite…to claim otherwise is a vote of no confidence in members of the armed forces, is not supported empirically, and is suspiciously dilatory. Training, like the formal publication of instructions, can occur (and has occurred) ex post facto.”

    And how sad is it that the person overseeing implementation, Secretary Stanley, is an African-American retired Major General who began his 33-year career in the Marines when the failure of the Pentagon to take racial equality seriously TWENTY YEARS after Truman ordered integration was exploding across military installations from Kentucky to Korea, with “race riots” on bases and ships, is insisting that existing regs and “chain of command” can adequately deal with discrimination against gays in assignments, evaluations, promotions, etc.—the same thing racists said back then.

    The fact is that is that if the “various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program” are still necessary in terms of “race, color, religion, sex, and national origin” then there is no logical excuse for not including “sexual orientation.” Their refusal only proves that while the Antigay Industry failed to stop the beginnings of the end of the ban itself, those seven antigay orgs the Pentagon Working Group met with are still pulling the Pentagon and White House’s chains.

  • Hmmm. We see Mr. Nicholson is still kissing ass when he should be kicking it. Instead of singing “Kumbaya” and hoping for more ‘Smores, every genuine advocate for gay equality should be repeating what Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin told your readers last month—that the Pentagon could end the ban NOW “if there was the political will” [READ: Obama hadn't sold his soul to bigots in the Pentagon].

    Training? Even assuming there is REALLY a need to say litte more than: “ATTENTION: yesterday we banned out gays. Today we don’t. There will be Zero Tolerance for failure to coooperate. Paperwork to follow. Dismissed!” let’s revisit the Palm Center’s December study:

    “Any claim that [implementation cannot happen] until after the completion of exhaustive training is inconsistent with DoD history and not based on military necessity. Whatever preparations are ultimately deemed necessary, the Pentagon ought to be able to pull them off faster than it did the implementation of DADT in 1994, which took approximately 40 days. [C]ase studies demonstrate that training can take place quickly, even in combat zones, and that policies are generally implemented BEFORE OR CONCURRENT WITH training. The Pentagon’s request for up to a year to train the troops prior to the repeal of DADT is unprecedented. Training is not a prerequisite…to claim otherwise is a vote of no confidence in members of the armed forces, is not supported empirically, and is suspiciously dilatory. Training, like the formal publication of instructions, can occur (and has occurred) ex post facto.”

    And how sad is it that the person overseeing implementation, Secretary Stanley, is an African-American retired Major General who began his 33-year career in the Marines when the failure of the Pentagon to take racial equality seriously TWENTY YEARS after Truman ordered integration was exploding across military installations from Kentucky to Korea, with “race riots” on bases and ships, is insisting that existing regs and “chain of command” can adequately deal with discrimination against gays in assignments, evaluations, promotions, etc.—the same thing racists said back then.

    The fact is that is that if the “various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program” are still necessary in terms of “race, color, religion, sex, and national origin” then there is no logical excuse for not including “sexual orientation.” Their refusal only proves that while the Antigay Industry failed to stop the beginnings of the end of the ban itself, those seven antigay orgs the Pentagon Working Group met with are still pulling the Pentagon and White House’s chains.

  • Thank you for this story. FYI for all interested: http://OutMilitary.com is providing a supportive environment for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters.

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