Gay servicemembers aren’t in the clear quite yet.
As the Pentagon begins its work to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a process that is expected to take several months, a Republican congressman from California has introduced legislation that would likely delay the process.
Rep. Duncan Hunter’s proposed bill would require the chief of staff of each military branch to sign off on repeal before it could be fully implemented. As the law currently stands, the President, the defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff all have to certify that repeal will not hurt military readiness. After that, the policy can be officially repealed in 60 days.
Hunter calls it the “Restore Military Readiness Act.”
“The idea behind the Restore Military Readiness Act is not necessarily to prevent the implementation of the DADT repeal, but rather to ensure that military readiness and combat effectiveness are not adversely impacted,” he said in a press release.
The bill has 18 co-sponsors, all Republicans, including Rep. Allen West (FL), who, like Hunter, is a veteran.
Such legislation — which is highly unlikely to make it into law — would probably delay repeal if it did. Gen. James Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, for one, recommended to the Senate that DADT not be repealed, saying that his combat troops were the most reluctant to accept openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in their ranks. And Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz and Army Gen. George Casey both recommended that repeal not be implemented yet. Schwartz suggested specifically that repeal not be implemented until 2012.
They all, however, said their branches would and could implement repeal when it’s ordered.
Hunter’s office did not return a request for comment.
In other DADT news, the Government Accountability Office estimates that DADT cost the military $193.3 million between 2004 and 2009, as it replaced more than 3,000 troops that had been discharged for their sexuality.