“Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen signaled to the Senate Armed Services Committee and to the nation that the Obama administration and the leadership of our nation’s armed forces are committed to repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In their historic testimony, they underscored the importance of taking a deliberate and comprehensive approach to the implementation of such an action that could take up to one year.
“While it is critically important that we get the implementation of a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal right, we at the Center for American Progress believe it is also important that we not unnecessarily delay repeal of this law. The Center has been a consistent advocate of repealing this unnecessary and counterproductive law, and we believe the Pentagon, like the 26 other countries that have ended the ban since 1993, can effectively conduct its review of the policy while Congress simultaneously works to dismantle it.
“We are encouraged by Secretary Gates’ announcement that, as a first step, the Department of Defense will no longer aggressively pursue disciplinary action against gay service members whose orientation is revealed against their will by third parties so that as few qualified and patriotic Americans as possible are discharged from the armed forces because of their sexual orientation. While the United States is heavily engaged in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military needs every qualified man and woman it can get, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Lawrence J. Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Winnie Stachelberg is the Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress.