Pentagon starts countdown to repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
In Washington, DC, the Department of Defense and the Pentagon have started the clock ticking for the repeal of the DADT policy for gays in the military. The process will likely take several years.
Gay groups have been calling for the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for homosexual servicepersons in the military for years, claiming their right to serve openly.
Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to announce the start of a special investigation on how the bill can be repealed while keeping troop morale intact. An urgency has been felt by the gay community since Obama spoke of the repeal Wednesday in his State of the Union address.
At the White House, officials continued reviewing options to repeal the Clinton-era policy that the president vowed to repeal. The administration still believes that any repeal should start in Congress and have the backing of top military leaders.
To that end, Obama and Gates planned a meeting next week to discuss, among other topics, ending "don't ask, don't tell" policies. The president was also likely to speak with Mullen, who has signaled he would carry out a repeal if ordered by Obama and Congress.
Lifting the ban poses some emotional questions that go to the heart of the military's command structure and the trust relationships within military units. Among them: Will U.S. troops and leaders tolerate openly gay members in their midst? And if they don't, what should the Pentagon do about it?
The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was imposed by a 1993 law intended as a compromise between President Bill Clinton, who wanted to lift the ban on gays entirely, and a reluctant Congress and military that said doing so would threaten order.