Earlier today, Marc Ambidner suggested that the Pentagon — which on Tuesday sent a guidance to recruiters instructing them to accept gay and lesbian enrollees — may adopt a more lenient approach towards enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell following the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ temporary stay of the policy. At a briefing this afternoon, officials hinted that they may be pursing a softer approach towards the ban, telling reporters that discharges will now require the approval of the “service branch secretary.” In other words, only five people in the entire Department of Defense will be able to discharge a gay soldier under the policy:
Discharges under the military’s ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy will now take the approval of the service branch secretary, and only in consultation with the defense department general counsel and the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, according to a pair of memoranda issued by senior military leadership today.
Until further notice, pursuant to a memorandum from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a follow-up memorandum from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, no service member can be discharged under DADT without the ”personal approval of the secretary of the military department concerned, and only in coordination with me and the General Counsel of the Department of Defense.”
A senior defense department lawyer briefed reporters on Thursday afternoon about the memos, saying, ”These two memos are primarily in reaction to … the temporary stay last night. We are clearly in a legally uncertain territory.”
The temporary stay will likely remain in effect until after October 25, when the court decides whether to leave it in place pending an appeal of Judge Virginia Phillips’ ruling that the policy is unconstitutional.
Read the new memorandum HERE.
CNN is reporting that even though the Pentagon still wants the ban repealed through Congress, “they are now looking at other possible ways at which it might be repealed.”
,A note of warning in the guidance:
We note again for Servicemembers, that altering their personal conduct during this period, in reaction to last week’s injunction, may have adverse consequences for themselves or others depending upon the state of the law. I also emphasize again, that it remains the policy of the Department of Defense not to ask Servicemembers or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline.