Plan accomplishes goals of both Pentagon and pro-repeal groups while avoiding political risk
(WASHINGTON, DC) - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies, announced yesterday the release of a plan for repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law in 2010 that accomplishes the goals of both pro-repeal advocates, including the White House, and the senior Pentagon leadership. The plan, which is contained within a document posted on Servicemembers United’s website entitled Securing Legislative Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, allows sufficient time for the recently announced Pentagon Working Group to complete it’s repeal implementation management analysis, but calls for a guaranteed date to be locked in legislatively by which the Department of Defense must begin quickly phasing out the policy at the end of its planning period.
“In light of the historic testimony of Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates last week, it is now clear that this plan will be the best way to accomplish full legislative repeal and to get that locked in this year,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United. “We argued for this model to be adopted as early as last spring, but others disagreed with our predictions about what it would take to get the Pentagon on board with repeal.”
Nicholson continued, “Now that the Pentagon’s position is out in the open, we must strongly push for this model to be adopted and included in the FY2011 Defense Authorization Bill in order to avoid missing this brief window of opportunity to minimize risk and guarantee the right outcome.”
The plan outlines a “Set End-Date / Delayed Implementation” (or SEDI) model for repeal legislation. It also calls for regular reporting benchmarks and an Implementation Management and Oversight Task Force that is external to the Department of Defense and which reports directly to the President.
“The Pentagon’s public support for any repeal legislation is absolutely critical,” noted Rear Admiral (Ret.) Alan M. Steinman, the document’s co-author and the highest ranking member of the military to ever publicly come out as gay. “We finally got their support for repeal itself last week, but now we must ensure that our legislative language is in line with their conditions for supporting repeal. This plan accomplishes that goal.”