The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell dog and pony show began in Washington yesterday with Defense Secretary Gates stating that even the “planning stages” for the DADT repeal will take at least another year before they even begin actual implementation. And any hope that a moratorium on discharges during the interim would be announced were also dashed when Secretary Gates said that an earlier report by the Washington Post that the military would no longer discharge soldiers outed by a “third party” was incorrect and that issue would also need “additional study” as well. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network released a statement pushing for an end to delays and criticized the calls for more needless research on the issue. “Top military officials also announced today they wanted to study the issue for a year or longer. Like Sen. Udall (D-Colo.), we think a one-year study is far too long and unnecessary and this process must have finality. SLDN would support a reasonable implementation and transition period if the Military Readiness Enhancement Act — Rep. Patrick Murphy’s legislation that repeals the law and replaces it with a policy of nondiscrimination — was simultaneously moving through Congress this year and the President signed the bill into law this year. All studies, including the decisive 1993 RAND study commissioned by the defense department, that openly gay service members do not have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, recruitment, retention, or readiness. Service members will be fired almost daily while the study is going on.”
Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a research group that has long focused on repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy also made clear that delays will only lead to more opportunities for opponents of repeal to create problems. “By signaling that integration is a complicated, fragile process and slow-rolling it over a number of years, you give obstructionists in the military the chance to stir up trouble in their units,” he said.