Gates: Actual repeal of 'don't ask' months away
Defense Secretary Robert Gates reminded military service members on Friday that any potential repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" is still months away.
"We do not expect that the legislation to do this would be presented to the president for months, perhaps not until the end of the year," Gates said in a video message to the troops. And even then, the process could take a few more months, he said.
The secretary told troops that any change in policy would not occur until after the ongoing Pentagon review of how to integrate gay troops.
"Current law, policies and regulations remain in place and we're obligated to abide by them as before," Gates said. His statements echo the warnings issued this week by gay rights organizations concerned that troops might inadvertently come out to fellow service members now that Congress has voted.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Gates decided to make the video to address "a lot of political posturing and maneuvering on this issue this week."
"He wanted to make it clear that the department's review of how to smartly implement a change in the law is more important than ever, and their participation in it is absolutely critical to its success," Morell said.
Indeed Gates urged service members and their families to participate in the study.
"I urge you to stay informed on this process, but do not let the ongoing political debate distract you from what is important: Our critical mission to defend our country and our duty to uphold the values represented by the uniform you wear," Gates said.
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| May 28, 2010; 4:27 PM ET
Categories: Military, Workplace Issues
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