With the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy slated to take effect tomorrow, Congressional leaders are saying the Obama administration still hasn’t given them all the information required to deal effectively with the ramifications that are sure to follow.
On Sept. 12, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., and Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Joe Wilson, R-S.C., sent a strongly worded letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, urging him to postpone the repeal until a sound policy can be adopted to replace DADT.
“(C)ommittee officials have requested, but not received, copies of the revised regulations and a summary of all the specific policy changes, especially with regard to benefits that will take effect upon repeal,” the congressmen wrote. “This failure to meet the committee’s requests leads us to conclude that decisions on the policies and regulations to implement repeal are not complete and that your certification and those of the (president and Joint Chiefs of Staff) were inaccurate.
“Furthermore, we find it unconscionable that the policies and regulations that provide the guidelines and procedures to be used by service members and their leaders to implement repeal, as well as to protect the interests of all service members, including gay and lesbian members, remain unpublished.”
The congressmen pointed out that the public comment period, which starts tomorrow, should have been implemented last December — when Congress repealed the law — to give reviewers enough time to implement changes. Generally, regulations are written after a law is passed, followed by a public comment period. In this case, regulations have yet to be written.
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said mainstream media has been disturbingly silent on the matter.
“The training that’s gone on has all been PowerPoint slides of various scenarios of what the post-DADT will look like in the military,” he said. “But the military does not operate on that — it operates on written policies and regulation, and we are still waiting to see those.”
Meanwhile, homosexual advocacy groups are waiting for nothing. For the last few months, various organizations have been ramping up activism in anticipation of DADT’s repeal, seeking to have gay literature distributed on post, gay recruiting quotas, and spousal benefits and on-base housing for soldiers’ same-sex partners as soon as possible.
And that makes the murkiness of the post-DADT era even more troubling.
“So much of the training has been based on the Defense of Marriage Act as being federal law. That’s mentioned several times in the training the chaplains’ lawyers received in the military,” Crews said. “All of that is there, but we know this administration has said they think it’s unconstitutional and won’t defend it. So where does that leave all those PowerPoint slides that say ‘This is our policy on the repeal of DADT, because of DOMA’?”
Even worse are the questions it raises about freedom of religion and speech in the military — and commanders’ abilities to do their jobs. The Obama administration has said that should one soldier say something his homosexual colleague finds offensive, it will be dealt with at their commander’s discretion.
“This is not simply a matter of letting gays serve in the military,” said retired U.S. Army Chaplain Douglas E. Lee. “It’s part of a much bigger agenda. It’s very distracting, and will be even more distracting in the future for commanders who are trying to defend our country. These issues will be driving commanders nuts.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeron’s letter to Sec. of Defense Panetta.
Review the national poll results on the repeal of DADT.
Read Lt. Col. Bob McGinnis’ summary of the bias in the Pentagon survey.