DADT “Repeal” Provides Long Path to Eventual Open Service

photo: joelgoodman via Flickr

[Ed: DADT passed the  cloture vote this morning, final vote should take place around 3pm ET]

There seems to be optimism this morning that the standalone “repeal” of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell will be successful in the United States Senate. The House of Representatives has sent a ‘privileged’ bill which allows for only one cloture vote before actually debating and voting on the measure itself. First voting will begin about 11am eastern time.

(Funny how the houses of Congress can work quickly and sidestep their cumbersome processes when they need to, isn’t it?)

Joe Sudbay tells which Senators to watch carefully during today’s debate:

Over the next couple hours, before the vote, we could get indications if Mitch McConnell was able to strong arm the repeal supporters in his caucus to defeat this legislation

Senators to watch today, on the GOP side are: Collins, Snowe, Brown and Murkowski. All four have said they support repeal. If any of them starts to waver or makes a peep about process, it’s a bad sign. If all four of them are okay, we could get Lugar, too — and there could be one or two surprises. Mark Kirk is apparently undecided. But, Lindsey Graham is still opposed to repeal.

On the Democratic side, watch Manchin (WV), Webb (VA) and Conrad (ND). Just yesterday, Conrad’s name started popping up as a potential problem. It’s hard to envision a scenario where we get to 59, but don’t can’t one of those Democrats to make it 60.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network posts its usual reminder for those in the military: THIS ISN’T OVER.

Even when the President signs the stand-alone bill approved by both houses, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will still be the law. Service members will still be discharged. Read SLDN’s warnings: www.sldn.org/StillAtRisk.

***SLDN WARNING TO SERVICE MEMBERS – DADT is STILL in EFFECT***

The bottom line is DADT is still in effect and it is NOT safe to come out.

Rapidly changing events regarding the legal status of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) may be confusing for service members and recruits.

There’s a path to open service, but it doesn’t begin when the president signs this bill.  . . .

CERTIFICATION

Before repeal may take place, the President must transmit to the congressional Armed Services Committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating each of the following:

(A) That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report’s proposed plan of action.

(B) That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f).

(C) That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations pursuant to the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f) is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

If you are in the military, or know someone in the service, or suspect someone serving now isn’t straight, please remember:

NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Open service won’t start until the Pentagon, via the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense, certifies they are ready to implement open service. They’ll need all their processes and procedures in place before doing so. It’s in the law. And then the President must send a letter to the Senate committee to announce the certification. “We’re ready!” could be some time coming.

And by “ready,” they mean all three components are satisfied in the law. Any one of which has the potential for slow-walking and slip-ups. That process will be as long or as short as our military leaders want it to be.

And after that, there is a 60-day waiting period.

Yes, today’s Senate vote, likely to repeal this odious policy, is another step on the road to the end of DADT. But it does not implement open service immediately.

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