An Air Force spokesman confirmed today that the secretary of the Air Force approved a discharge under the military’s ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on April 29 of this year. The discharge, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman, is the only such discharge since the Pentagon on Oct. 21, 2010, directed that DADT discharges would require the approval of the service branch secretary.
Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez wrote today to Metro Weekly, ”The only separation approved following the Oct. 21, 2010 policy change is an Air Force separation, approved Apr. 29, 2011.”
Air Force Major Joel Harper, an Air Force spokesman, clarified the specifics of the discharge to Metro Weekly, writing, ”On April 29th, 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the discharge of an Airman under the provisions of 10 USC 654, after coordination with the DoD General Counsel [Jeh Johnson] and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness [Stanley].”
Harper continued, ”Each of these officials evaluated the case carefully, and concluded that separation was appropriate. The Airman in the case asked to be separated expeditiously.”
Servicemembers United executive director Alex Nicholson, who stated that he was unfamiliar with this case, wrote, ”[T]he Department of Defense has made it abundantly clear that it is now virtually impossible to discharge someone who does not want to be discharged.”
Repeal will not occur under the DADT Repeal Act until the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify to Congress that the changes needed to implement repeal are ”consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.” At that point, a 60-day congressional review period must pass before 10 U.S.C. 654 – the DADT law – is taken off the books.