Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brody's Notes... Republican House Members Make Final Push To Delay DADT Repeal

By Brody Levesque | WASHINGTON D.C. -- The two ranking GOP members of the U. S. House Armed Services Committee, Chairman Buck McKeon,(R-California), and Congressman Joe Wilson, (R-South Carolina), who chairs the Military Personnel subcommittee, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Monday asking him to delay the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell scheduled for next Tuesday, September 20th, claiming that certain regulations regarding military benefits for same sex couples have not been revised.
McKeon and Wilson wrote that the government’s decision to certify the end of the policy on July 22 was “inaccurate” because the House has “not received copies of the revised regulations and a summary of all the specific policy changes.”
In the letter, the pair writes:
Mr. Secretary, we trust that you will see the risk of moving forward with repeal without giving service members and their leaders adequate time to study, understand and prepare themselves to implement the revised policies and regulations they will need to be successful," the letter reads.
They also requested that the Defence Secretary reveal to the committee via memorandum the opinions and view points of the separate uniformed service branch chiefs along with the heads of the major military commands, writing:
The Department is not ready to implement the repeal because all the policies and regulations necessary for the transition are not yet final. We would ask that the senior military leaders' memoranda immediately be made public and transmitted to the Committee on Armed Services.
This request has been previously denied by the Office of the Secretary of Defence.
A spokesman for the Pentagon, in response to the letter, told reporters:
“The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will occur, in accordance with the law and after a rigorous certification process, on September 20. Senior Department of Defense officials have advised Congress of changes to regulations and policies associated with repeal. We take that obligation seriously.”
Yesterday, the commander of U. S. Armed Forces Europe, four star general Carter Ham, who was the co-chair of the Pentagon’s DADT study group which examined the effects of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on the military services, predicted that lifting the ban against open service by gay and lesbian servicemembers is probably going to prove “pretty inconsequential.” Ham told the Associated Press that conservative groups may still speak out in support of the policy, but those whom are inside the military will adopt a "business-as-usual" attitude.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis issued the following statement on the Monday's letter saying:
“This is another example of the hardcore opposition attempting to delay or undo 'don’t ask, don’t tell' repeal. I expect they will continue to look for openings to deny gay and lesbian service members the same rights and dignity as their straight counterparts. On the substance, Mr. McKeon and Mr. Wilson are simply wrong. The statute only requires that the new regulations be prepared — not issued — before certification.”