National Gay Military Group Rolls Out Plan To Repeal DADT Before The End OF The Year

soldier2Eager to capitalize on the recent momentum for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and weary of the military’s ability to derail the process with a year-long review, a national organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans has proposed a plan that would lock in a date for full Congressional repeal and give the military 18 months to “do its studies, work through its issues, and plan for successful implementation.” “After the hearing, I think there’s been an expectation that we would have a study process in 2010 and a legislative process in 2011,” said Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United told the Advocate. “But a lot of us in the military community feel like that’s a grave political mistake and we’re potentially risking the entire issue by proceeding that way.”

The group’s Set End-date / Delayed Implementation (SEDI) model would proceed in the following way:

– Immediately: Pentagon Working Group begins work; Legislation introduced to lock in repeal

– After 3 months: Deadline for interim changes to policy enforcement; First report to Congress

– After 6 months: Second report to Congress on progress of repeal implementation planning

– After 9 months: Third report to Congress on progress of repeal implementation panning

– After 12 months: [Repeal passed]; Repeal implementation begins according to plan established by Pentagon

– After 18 months: Full repeal completed; Final report to Congress

The model places Congress and the Pentagon on two separate tracks: the former repeals the policy, the latter studies “how we best prepare for it.” There is no endless delay or year-long review to tell us what numerous studies and real world experiences in other countries have unanimously concluded: on the whole, straight soldiers don’t really care about the sexual orientation of their colleagues. As one headline in Foreign Policy magazine put it about gays in the Israeli military: ‘They’re Here, They’re Queer, It’s No Big Deal.’

The ‘big deal’ is the threat of a manufactured controversy that could arise from a drawn out process. “Even if all parties involved have the best of intentions, the DADT issue does not exist in a vacuum. Many other forces can intervene between now and the future point at which the Pentagon finishes its planning and study that can derail the intended trajectory, including a year’s worth of time for reactionary opposition to organize and wage a serious campaign, the midterm elections, and the outcomes of other volatile political issues,” the report notes.

After all, if the health debate taught Democrats anything, it’s this: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”