In a last ditch effort to prolong Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who chairs the Military Personnel subcommittee, have written a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Pannetta asking the Pentagon to postpone the scheduled repeal of the ban against open gay and lesbian service, set for Tuesday, Sept. 20.
The pair argues 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.” From the letter:
[W]e now understand that certain regulations and policies necessary for implementation will have to undergo a review and comment period before they can be effective and that this period is not scheduled to begin until September 20th. Ne need for review and comment before these regulations and policies can be effective directly contravenes the July 22 certifications. The Department is not ready to implement the repeal because all the policies and regulations necessary for the transition are not yet final. [...]
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 that they will need to be successful.
The Pentagon has denied the request, saying, “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, Gen. Carter Ham, who co-chaired the Pentagon’s study group examining the consequences of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, predicted that lifting the ban against open service is likely to prove “pretty inconsequential.” Ham told the Associated Press that conservative groups may still speak out in support of the policy, but those inside the military will adopt a business-as-usual attitude.