WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 — Respect for all service members is at the heart of training for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said today.
Clifford L. Stanley and Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, testified before the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee about preparing the force for repeal of the law that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
“My focus is total force readiness, caring for our people and creating a culture of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency,” Stanley said. He told the subcommittee that he views total force readiness as encompassing a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state of preparedness and resilience.
“This policy change embodies that view of total force readiness. More simply put, it’s about respect,” Stanley said. “Respect is not a word I use lightly. It embraces the true meaning of honorable service. Respect is also a word that captures the indelible bond shared by all who serve, especially when serving in harm’s way.” All services began training before March 1, Stanley said, and he expects all to be finished by the end of summer.
Because the training emphasizes leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect, Stanley said, he believes it “will enable any change in policy to be executed with minimal disruption to the force.”
Gortney spoke of the three-part process the military has put in place to repeal the law. The first step was implementing or changing policies. The second was training changes and the third step was actually training service members.
“The services have reviewed policies and directives that will require change, and are on target to implement them effective the date of repeal,” he said. A repeal implementation team and the services developed the training for the force and planned how to put that training in place, Gortney said. “The services have implemented these plans,” he said, “and are proceeding smartly with the training of tier 1, experts; tier 2, leadership; and tier 3, the total force.” Gortney said the Joint Chiefs of Staff discuss the training and monitor progress regularly.
“Our intent is to ensure that a preponderance of the force, including the Reserve and National Guard, is prepared expeditiously, but in a careful and responsible manner,” the admiral said.
The repeal will take effect 60 days after the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify the process should move ahead. “The secretary of defense and the chairman will not certify until, in their judgments, the force is prepared to implement the new policies and regulations consistent with our standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention of the armed forces,” Gortney said Both Stanley and Gortney said the military is being very deliberate to ensure all questions are answered before repeal.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)