The U.S. Army released a list of official guidelines related to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on its website last week to accompany the training that soldiers began to undergo a few weeks ago on both American and international bases.
“We can implement this change in policy by relying on the leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect for each other that have characterized our service for the past 235 years and remain at the core of the United States Army,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey and Army Secretary John McHugh on February 22. Their message included a list of the “top 10 things soldiers need to know,” such as that standards of conduct remain the same for everyone, practices that segregate soldiers on the basis of sexual orientation are prohibited, and there will be no changes to policies concerning chaplain duties.
Many soldiers are already receiving training on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan in regards to the new LGB-inclusive military policy. “This is a disciplined force, and we expect to see that as the training and repeal go into place. Lastly, respect is what everybody expects to receive and what everybody should give,” said Maj. Gen. Steven Hummer, Chief Staff of the Marine Corps. Marines of all ranks and in all locations will be trained by May 31 according to the Marine Times.
Trainings are broken down into three tiers. The first tier covers special staff and individuals such as chaplains, lawyers and inspectors general. The second tier focuses on supervisors and commanders, and the third tier is for the majority of the force, which includes 2.2 million troops. The Navy began its training in early February and expects it to be completed by the end of June. The Air Force plans to finish training by the summer, and the Army has set a deadline of the middle of August, reports CNN.
Meanwhile, the fight over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” continues in the courts. The federal government filled out an opening brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on February 25 to reverse the decision of federal judge Virginia Phillips, who ruled the law unconstitutional. Yet Dan Woods, who represents the LGBT group the Log Cabin Republicans, said the brief failed to address the constitutional aspects of the law. “The government’s brief, by its silence on these issues, is effectively conceding that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was and is unconstitutional,” he said, which marks the first change in its position in over six years.
GLAAD will continue to monitor media coverage as preparations are made by the Defense Department to permanently end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.