Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, We Won’t Tell” Implementation Plan Does Not Work
In a September 12 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Joe Wilson (R-SC) called for delay in the implementation of repeal of the 1993 law regarding gays in the military, mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Implementation of the repeal is planned for next Tuesday, September 20, but the repeal legislation requires written regulations (not PowerPoint slides), which the Defense Department has not provided to Congress.
The following comments may be attributed to Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness, which supported retention of the 1993 law, Section 654, Title 10, USC:
“We appreciate the stunning letter that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon and HASC Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Joe Wilson sent on September 12. The McKeon/Wilson letter confirms that “certification” of the services’ readiness to proceed, signed by Secretary Panetta, President Obama, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on July 22, was not complete or accurate. Despite repeated requests, wrote McKeon and Wilson, ‘The Department is not ready to implement the repeal because all the policies and regulations necessary for the transition are not yet final.’
“In a July 28 committee briefing statement, Chairman McKeon observed, “[T]he repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell resulted from a process that insulted the legislative and oversight responsibilities of the House of Representatives.’ McKeon cited a Defense Department Inspector General investigation report, which revealed that the vaunted 2010 Pentagon survey on gays in the military was ‘so pre-determined that the final report was being drafted before the surveys were even sent to the troops.’
“McKeon continued, ‘The [lame-duck] Congress seized the conclusions of the faulty report and forced through a repeal bill over the stated reservations of the service chiefs…’ The process allowed ‘none of the rigorous examination that is essential to adopting sound legislation.’
“President Obama made a political promise to LGBT activists, and Defense Department appointees have created a shaky house of cards that is about to collapse. Congress has the right to review regulations defining the president’s San Francisco Military.
“During hearings in April, HASC members asked many questions about the effect of the new LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) law on issues such as personal privacy, marriage benefits, and religious rights of conscience. On the thorniest of issues, Pentagon witnesses repeatedly answered ‘I don’t know.’ “Taking advantage of the administration’s “Don’t ask, we won’t tell” attitude, gay activist groups are demanding swift imposition of LGBT policies that contradict previous assurances that the administration gave to Congress. The Pentagon keeps promising, for example, that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will preclude same-sex marriage benefits and associated costs.
“These assurances, however, are not credible. The Obama Justice Department has joined with gay activists in demanding that federal courts declare the DOMA to be unconstitutional, and the Pentagon will not oppose inevitable lawsuits with arguments contrary to the Justice Department.
“Lists of demands to apply LGBT law, reported in the Washington Times, include special “civil rights” status comparable to racial minorities, access for same-sex couples (with or without children) to military family housing, commissaries, exchanges, medical facilities, and morale/recreation programs. Gay activists also want provisions for legal aid and courtroom testimonial immunity for same-sex couples, provisions for joint duty assignments, certain deployment exemptions, space-available travel privileges, targeted recruiting, and participation in gay pride parades.
“On July 28, Defense Department officials allowed HASC members to briefly see copies of senior military leaders’ memoranda regarding the repeal, but not retain them for official records and public release. The administration is playing keep-away games with documents that McKeon and Wilson say should be public. “Deceptive tactics used to pass and enforce the LGBT law should be made public, and the next president and Congress should resolve to take our military back.”
To schedule an interview on this subject, contact CMR President Elaine Donnelly at 734/464-9430, or Executive Director Tommy Sears, 202/330-1890.* * * * * * *
The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues.