Pentagon officials told a House subcommittee Friday that training for implementation of repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has gone “extremely well so far” and that certification to Congress might come by mid-summer.
Vice Admiral William Gortney said it was the judgment of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, that repeal “won’t have an impact.” “And I happen to believe that as well,” said Gortney.
In response to a question from Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) both Undersecretary Stanley and Vice Admiral Gortney said they expect the Pentagon will be ready to submit in mid-summer its required written certification to Congress that the military is prepared to drop implementation of the federal law banning openly gay people from the service.
President Obama, too, must submit written certification to Congress, saying he is confident the military is ready to implement repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Then, 60 days after his certification, and that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, is submitted, the law will be repealed in practice.
“We don’t want to rush… and we don’t want to take forever,” said Stanley, adding that, “if something we didn’t anticipate” comes up prior to then, the military would take the time necessary to address it.
Both Houses of Congress in December passed, and President Obama signed, a bill to repeal the 1996 law prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military. The measure stipulated that, before actual repeal of the law takes place, the Defense Department would conduct training to prepare its forces for the change.