Via Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade, groups like the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United are calling upon Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to certify repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before he retires at the end of the month:
Waiting for certification after Gates retires, advocates said, could further delay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal because Leon Panetta, the incoming defense secretary who currently serves as CIA director, may want to examine the issue further before signaling the military is ready for open service.
[SLDN's Aubrey Sarvis] said a scenario in which Panetta would assume his position as defense secretary and within matter of weeks say the armed forces are ready for certification is “highly unlikely.”
“I think that he would want to spend some time with the chiefs and with the troops to make a thorough analysis of the situation,” Sarvis said. “I don’t think that’s something you can do in a matter of days.”
Back in December before repeal had passed in Congress, Gates said that he would not sign the certification “until the Service Chiefs are comfortable that the risks to unit cohesion and combat effectiveness of a change have been addressed to their satisfaction and to my satisfaction.” Since then, even Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, the most reluctant of the Joint Chiefs when it came to DADT repeal, has called for its orderly implementation.
Just yesterday, Gates told a Marine in regards to ending DADT that, “If we do this right, nothing will change.” Hopefully, Gates is including himself in “we” and making sure the job is done before he moves on.