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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
Secretary of Defense Gates plans quick DADT repeal
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Secretary of Defense Gates plans quick DADT repeal

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called on the armed forces to accelerate the pace of the looming repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT).

On January 6, Secretary Gates outlined a multi-step plan, including regulatory and benefits reform, preparation of training materials, and then training itself.

According to Gates, the U.S. military is 'trying to get the first two phases of that process done as quickly as possible.'

'The real challenge is providing training to 2.2 million people,' said Gates. 'We will do that as expeditiously as we can.'

When President Obama signed legislation authorizing the repeal of DADT, he said that the transition would take place 'swiftly and efficiently.'

Secretary Gates' support for implementing repeal quickly is consistent with existing research, which finds that swift implementation is key to avoiding disruptions once a decision is made to repeal the Gay ban.

In a 1993 RAND Corporation report on Gays in the military, the recommendation to leaders states, 'Act quickly: Lessons from the implementation literature suggest that the new policy regarding homosexuals in the military should be decided upon and implemented as quickly as possible.'

A recent Palm Center study outlines tools such as on-demand, computer-based learning that the Pentagon uses to train troops - including those in deployed settings. The study found that in most cases, Pentagon leaders train servicemembers concurrently with the implementation of new policy, and do not wait until training is complete to institute a change in rules.

Approximately 10% of military personnel are currently deployed in Middle East combat zones.

'The existing research is clear and consistent about how to minimize any confusion resulting from the end of a Gay ban: implement the decision quickly and clearly,' said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center. 'President Obama's call for a swift repeal process and Secretary Gates' vision of expeditious training are the signs of real leadership, and are important steps in the right direction.'

The Palm Center is a research institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial issues of the day. For the past decade, the Palm Center's research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. For more information, visit www.palmcenter.org.

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