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|Service Chiefs: DADT repeal implementation 'going very well'|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|April 07, 2011 14:14|
The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing today on the implementation of the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” For the first time since the repeal was signed into law by President Barack Obama late last year, the military's service chiefs were called before Congress to testify on the anti-gay policy's repeal.
Though no firm date for full repeal was given, several service chiefs said their branches are aiming to complete training before mid-summer and that most were on track or ahead of schedule with regard to training.
Today's hearing featured Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos and Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who represented the Army in the place of Gen. George Casey, who was tending to family matters.
“The Army has begun the deliberate process of training our force,” Chiarelli said in his opening statement. “As in everything we do, ultimately the success of our implementation plan rests on the shoulder of our leaders. Leadership matters most.”
Several chiefs said training was progressing better than anticipated. Most branches planned to complete training by the end of June or early July, which could see certification and ultimate repeal in early fall.
“No issues so far in tier one or tier two training. Gen. Casey would remain with moderate risk, only because we're not far enough in our training to change that.,” Chiarelli added.
Adm. Roughead praised his sailors for their professionalism in his opening statement to the committee.
“Repeal will not change who we are or what we do,” Roughead said. “A specific date has not been set. We have begun the process for prompt and thoughtful transition. I have the ultimate confidence that the men and women of the United States Navy will successfully implement this change in the law.”
Even Gen. Amos, a staunch opponent of repeal efforts during on-going military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, said most Marines were not showing anxiety over repeal. “Some of the first marines to receive training were my three and four-star generals,” Amos said.
The chiefs offered insight into how the each branch of the military has instituted training policies. Most branches have taken a tiered method, training leadership first and then moving down the ranks.
Gen. Schwartz indicated that the preferred method was in person, though he acknowledged that servicemembers currently deployed could be trained by completing a computer-based program.
Certification of the law by President Obama, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is still needed before full repeal can be implemented. After certification, the law will remain in effect for 60 days.
Top photo: Military chiefs before the House Armed Services Committee (via C-Span)
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