Monday, February 28, 2011

DADT Repeal Guidlines for the Army

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 25, 2011) -- With pending repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning gays and lesbians from military service, the Army is implementing a tiered training program for Soldiers worldwide.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Secretary of the Army John McHugh sent a message Feb. 22, to the force about preparations to repeal the law.

"We are confident that you are up to the task, and that 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," Casey and McHugh said in the message.

Training for the Force is broken into three tiers. Tier one targets special staff and key individuals like chaplains, lawyers, and inspectors general. Tier two focuses on commanders and supervisors. Tier three will train the rest of the force and is scheduled to begin in early March.

"It is important to emphasize that the current policies remain in effect" for now, McHugh and Casey pointed out in the message. They said the DADT law will stay in place until 60 days after the president, secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that the repeal can be implemented "consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention."

They added that the repeal date will be widely publicized once it is decided.

Attached to the message was a list of the "Top 10 things Soldiers need to know" about the repeal of DADT:

1. Accessions & Separations Policies: Upon repeal, the Army will no longer separate Soldiers solely on the basis of homosexual acts, a statement that a Soldier is gay, lesbian or bisexual, or marriage to a person of the same sex. Statements about sexual orientation or lawful acts of gay and lesbian conduct will not be a bar to military service or admission to any accession program. Sexual orientation will continue to be a personal and private matter.

2. Standards of Conduct Apply Equally to Everyone: All Soldiers will be held to the same standard of conduct. All members are responsible for upholding and maintaining high standards of the U.S. Military at all times and in all places.

3. Personal Privacy: Commanders may not establish practices that physically segregate Soldiers according to sexual orientation. Commanders do have the discretion to alter billeting assignments to accommodate privacy concerns of individuals on a case-by-case basis where it is in the interest of maintaining morale, good order and discipline, and is consistent with performance of the mission.

4. Moral and Religious Concerns: There will be no changes regarding any Soldier's free exercise of religious beliefs, nor are there any changes to policies concerning the Chaplain Corps and its duties. The Chaplain Corps' First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change. Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.

5. Benefits: There will be no changes to eligibility standards for military benefits and services. The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing any same-sex marriage, so same sex partners do not qualify as dependents for many military benefits and services. A same-sex partner should be treated the same as an unrelated third party (e.g. girlfriend, boyfriend). All Soldiers will continue to have various benefits for which they may designate any beneficiary regardless of relationship.

6. Equal Opportunity: Sexual orientation will not be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex and national origin as a class under the Military Equal Opportunity Program and therefore will not be dealt with through the MEO complaint process. All Soldiers, regardless of sexual orientation are entitled to an environment free from personal, social, or institutional barriers that prevent Soldiers from rising to the highest level of responsibility possible. Harassment or abuse of any kind, including that based on sexual orientation, is unacceptable and will be dealt with through command or inspector general channels.

7. Duty Assignments: There are no changes to assignment policy. All Soldiers will continue to be eligible for world-wide assignment without consideration of sexual orientation. Soldiers assigned to duty, or otherwise serving, in countries in which gay and lesbian conduct is prohibited will abide by the guidance provided to them by their local commanders.

8. Medical Policy: There are no changes to existing medical policies.

9. Release and Service Commitments: There will be no new policy to allow for release from service commitments for Soldiers opposed to repeal of DADT or to serving with gay or lesbian Soldiers.

10. Collection and Retention of Sexual Orientation Data: Sexual orientation is a personal and private matter. Commanders will not request, collect, or maintain information about the sexual orientation of Soldiers.


  1. The gay thing.

    My first tour in Viet Nam our platoon had two gays in it, both openly, both draftees. Oddly enough, their gayness wasn't really an issue, hard as it is to believe.
    That was 67 - 68, and the army was looking for warm bodies.
    Both these guys said they had been up front about being gay, but had been informed that they had to "prove" it. The only proof acceptable ivolved the commission of a felony, on federal property, in front of witnesses. The resulting jail sentence would have been longer and had a less liberal pass/leave/pay factor than the army, so they took the lesser of two evils and toughed it out.
    They took the same risks, humped their rooks, filled their sandbags, bitched, moaned, acted prety much like everyone else.
    Like in any group, some people had issues with them, but their gayness was pretty far down down on the list of reasons for those issues.

    I used to know a lot of people who had been in the pre- WWII military, and there were a lot of people everyone knew was gay. On duty was one thing, your own time was your own.

    Willeford and James Jones discuss it in their books.
    I'm told that WWII and especially the draft is what caused most of the stink. People who were "just passing through" wrote or went back to Podunck and outraged moms and Sunday School teachers with tales of what they saw...which wasn't much at all, but it was there and something had to be done. Then, in the cold war, since people lived double lives if they were "important" and gay, this made a gay person a potential security risk due to liability to blackmail.

    But here in America, it's all about the sex act, I suppose.

  2. Good points all. The dynamic I've noticed in the current hash of the debate is that many opponents do indeed distill it down to the sex act. They don't want to acknowledge the chemical/biological attraction that gays have or that it mirrors the same chemistry that you and I have for our spouses. They claim that gays 'defined themselves by their sex act' or always 'make sure you know that they are gay' without realizing the absurdity of the first argument or the fact that hetero's don't have to hide who they're attracted to so our heterosexuality is a given by virtue of photo's on a desk or casual reference to a spouse.

    A cogent and rational discussion should be embraced by all interested, but there is ignorance on one side and professional victim s on the other [though I would argue that ignorance outnumbers victims by far] so we continue to go round and round....all the while seemingly forgetting that what were discussing is at heart the equal treatment of our fellow Americans.

  3. Totally with you on that, both of you. My own view is, you can't argue with brain chemistry. What difference does it make if someone is attracted to a member of the same sex? Will it really cause the Earth to fall off its axis, and the destruction of humanity? I don't think so...

  4. I maintain that the real fear is that if gays and lesbians (etc.) are allowed to serve openly in the military, their compatriots will very quickly come to realize that their orientation isn't really important at all. And they will take those views back home, and the great spectre of the Homosexual Menace will be revealed as nothing more than the baseless fears of uninformed bigots.

    In other words, I think a lot of the opposition is based on the fear that if gays can serve openly, being gay is suddenly going to seem a lot more normal to mainstream society.

    I have the impression that military service had a similar effect on racial integration, though I don't have anything (that isn't anecdotal) to support that with.

  5. MM, that's a big part of it. It's surprising how many of these things actually start out in the military.

    But a lot of people have a lot of their personality invested in the idea that no matter what happens to them, no matter what condition their life may take, no matter how low they fall, they will at least never be an ethnic minority/gay.

    As I'm sure that CI could tell you as well, even in the military it was slow going.
    I was a military "brat" and when integration started, we lived in Germany. The housing was integrated, and for the first time my parents had black neighbors. Actually, for the first time, they saw black people at "saying good morning" range.

    My mother told me once that what seemed to bother people most was that it didn't particularly matter at all, and that they DIDN'T have the upheaval in society that was predicted.
    But, I was also in myself during the Viet Nam years and twenty years later there were still problems, some pretty big.

    I went through basic training with a guy a lot of people said was surely gay (they didn't use that word), because he was a draftee, and a professional ballet dancer.
    He was always practicing his moves, doing exercising, and didn't let it bother him until four guys decided to state their dislike of him by thumping him.
    He let them throw the first punch and proceeded to lay three of them out with an economy of motion that was a wonder to behold. He thumped the last one, picked him up and held him over head, spun around and slid him down the squad bay so hard that he knocked the fire extinguisher off the wall when he hit it.
    He then said that no, he was straight, not gay, married to a woman (we saw her at graduation...yum!) and no one had to insult him if they wanted a fight, just ask, he'd oblige.

    What bothered a lot of people during my first 'Nam tour was that the two openly gay guys said they knew for a fact that there were six other gays in the company, but they were keeping it hidden. I think that intel bothered people more than knowing who two actually were.

    Personally, I had a lot of other things I was worrying about more that the next guy's love life.


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