Marc Ambinder has a preview of what Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will tell the Senate Armed Services Committee today about the administration’s plans to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is step one:
According to an administration official, the most visible of those steps will be to revise the rule that allows third parties — other soldiers or outside accusers — to “out” soldiers and precipitate investigations that lead to their dismissal. Basically: if someone else outs you, you won’t be dismissed. It’s not clear what percentage of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell dismissals would be effected [sic] by this revision.
That’s basically saying the Pentagon will decline to enforce that element of the ban on openly gay servicemembers. The rest of it will take a year and will require a legislative fix. (Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), a 36-year old Iraq veteran, is proposing one in the House.) Why a year? Ambinder: “Gates and Mullen will argue that full integration of gays and lesbians must be pursued carefully, in order to protect the rights of gay soldiers and to make sure that the policy, when finally implemented, is well-accepted and seen as legitimate.” That’s the defense secretary’s modus operandi.
Gates and Mullen will talk first about the Pentagon budget and the QDR. This afternoon they’ll pivot the hearing to DADT repeal.