Contrary To Fears, DADT Repeal Process Is Working Out Just Fine
Opponents of repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy are likely to be dismayed to hear that the military is finding the process of making the repeal fully effective very easy so far:
The military’s repeal of its longstanding “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is not facing resistance from troops and is on track to take full effect this fall as planned, top commanders told a House committee on Friday.
Clifford Stanley, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Personnel that the military has trained 9 percent of its forces over the past month without any resistance to the new policy. He said he expects to complete training of all forces by this summer, which means the military can repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” sometime this fall, as planned.
“It has gone extremely well so far,” Stanley told the panel.
Stanley, and U.S. Navy Vice Admiral William E. Gortney who also testified, said they hadn’t heard of any service members grumbling about the new policy.
“I think we’re on the right path and I think midsummer is achievable” Gortney said.
Republicans on the panel’s questions looked for a crack in the witnesses’ confidence, but Stanley and Gortney remained vehement that DADT repeal is necessary.
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a retired lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq, said he’s worried military leaders who resist implementation will be unfairly targeted.
“I want to make sure we do not go now on a witch hunt because of external social engineering interest groups,” he said.
And one Republican Congressman was surprised to hear that his pre-conceived notions about DADT were completely false:
Scott wondered aloud whether DADT repeal is even necessary. He said he suspected that the gay and lesbian military who have been discharged have likely violated other standards of conduct.
Gortney quickly rejected the hypothesis, telling Scott that he had himself dismissed a Navy officer in the early 1990s, shortly after the policy was implemented, simply because the officer had told his chaplain that he was gay.
The anecdote shocked Scott.
“He did not violate your standard of conduct?” Scott asked.
“No, sir,” Gortney replied.
“That’s not the answer I thought you would give,” Scott said.
To which Gortney said quickly: “It happens to be the truth.”
Frankly, I’m not surprised by this at all. The notion that there would be widespread dissension in the ranks over this was pushed largely by social conservatives who didn’t seem to have any military experience of their own. Those who are actually serving said repeatedly during last years debate that the military was more than ready to handle the changes that would come with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. It tuns out they were right.