The Associated Press reports that more than a million troops have been trained for the long awaited repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service personnel, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and indications are that reaction to the change has been muted, without the violence and much predicted mass exodus opponents feared.
That said, the Army is expecting some sort of incident at some point in the future, but service chiefs are hoping that with continued training before certification of the repeal, such incidents will be small and manageable.
“So far this seems to be a non-event,” Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff for the Army, told reporters recently. But, he warned, “This is not going to happen without incident – I’d be crazy to say that. Somewhere along the line something is going to occur. But we’re doing everything we can to head that off in training.”
“We have seen no insurmountable issues,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Our training is going very well.”
The Navy expects to finish the bulk of its training by the end of June. The Army will largely finish its training of the active duty force by mid-July, and the reserves by August 15. The Marines and Air Force have the bulk of their troops trained. All together about half of the 2.2 million members of the active and reserve military have been trained.”
Outgoing-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke frankly last week when asked if servicemembers who disagreed with allowing open service would be allowed to leave early: his answer was a categoric “no.”
Gates is being urged to certify the repeal before he leaves his post as Secretary of Defense on June 30, with advocates of the repeal warning that if not, the change could unnecessarily prolong the time it takes for certification. Others have predicted that Gates would be unlikely to leave his post without certifying the repeal.
From The Washington Blade:
Certification requires the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs to sign off on the change. Certification has widely been anticipated for the summer, but both the Army and President Obama have remained tight lipped on a firm date.
Upon certification there will be a sixty-day period before the repeal goes into effect, so it is conceivable that certification could happen while implementation training remains ongoing.