Tuesday, May 25, 2010

White house supports conditional repeal of "don't ask don't tell": pass repeal-only bill now, put new policy into effect after Pentagon review in 2011

The Obama administration is sending signals that it will support a conditional repeal of the 1993 “don’t ask don’t tell” law, consisting of removing the language from US Code, as long as it does not go into effect until the Pentagon finishes its review of how to implement conduct rules administratively and deal with “cultural” issues for military families, which Defense Secretary Gates says would take until about Dec. 1, 2010.  But vote on a conditional repeal-only measure could occure before June 1.

This all means that “don’t ask don’t tell” could be history by Jan. 1, 2011. There will certainly be a New Years celebration for it is so (blizzards or not).

The Washington Post news story on Tuesday May 25 is by Michael D. Shear and Ed O’Keefe, “Obama backs ‘don’t ask’ compromise that could pave way for repeal,” link here.  At the moment (9:30 AM Tuesday morning) this is the lead story on the Washington Post online.

On Saturday, former Clinton Joint Chief of Staff John M. Shalikashvil has argued for a “repeal only” approach in the Post, and that advice seems to have favor with the president.

The Pentagon could follow the Rand 1993 study in drawing up conduct rules, as prepared for the Defense research Institute then, called “Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy: Options and Assessment.” Rand has issued a monograph online of the report here.  It would be necessary for the Pentagon to consider the effect of online social media on the conduct rules (as it has to now for other issues, including security). Under the current law, it’s clear that the recent controversy over privacy in social media (including Facebook) is relevant and could lead to discharges.

Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain supports keeping the DADT policy, which he admits is "not perfect."

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