A few things have popped into the inbox regarding DADT implementation. As you know, all we have to celebrate so far is the legislative repeal. Discharges have not stopped, no policy changes have occurred — Sec Def Robert Gates and Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mullen, as well as Commander-in-Chief Obama have to sign off on the findings of the Pentagon’s DADT repeal “impact” report that was released last year. And, of course, all of the service branches have to have implementation plans ready.

First this release from SLDN:

SLDN calls on Department of Defense to create special boards to help former service members harmed by DADT discharges

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) sent a letter Monday calling upon Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford Stanley to establish Special Boards that would address issues faced by former service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and the prior regulatory ban. Since President Obama signed legislation on December 22, 2010 allowing for the repeal of DADT, SLDN has received hundreds of calls from those fired under the law who wish to see their discharge paperwork changed or who wish to apply for re-accession to the armed services. “Creating these Special Boards will be one of the first important steps the Defense Department can take to help former service members who were harmed by the DADT law,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

The overwhelming majority of former service members who have contacted SLDN in the last few weeks are seeking to change their discharge paperwork to remove the remnants of the “Don’t Ask” law, which can subject them to discrimination in civilian life. Many of these same former service members also want to return to the military, either in the positions they were forced to leave or in another capacity of service to their country.

Sarvis went on to say, “Once repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ goes into effect, we expect the military will receive thousands of requests from former service members with questions in one or both of these areas. We propose that the Department of Defense create Special Boards to deal with these issues once repeal becomes effective. Creating these Boards will enable the armed services to determine the proper remedy for each former service member in a fair, uniform, and efficient manner. We are confident Secretary Gates and Dr. Stanley have the authority to take this important step and ensure these Boards are put in place.”

There was also news, reported by the Navy Times, that command training or online instruction will be required for all serving. More below the fold, including video.Navy Times:

The training will be recorded for active-duty sailors and reservists, defense contractors and some Navy civilians, according to NAVADMIN 041/11 released by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead.

“It is important for our sailors to understand what this change means to them, their families and our Navy,” Roughead said in the 1-minute-long video. “This change in the law ensures that qualified citizens can serve based on individual merit, fitness, and capability without regard to sexual orientation. No one is being asked to change their moral or religious beliefs.”

In the message, Roughead outlines three levels of training:

• Commanders, executive officers and command master chiefs will be trained by “mobile training teams” of experts and fleet representatives. These leaders, in turn, will be expected to train their commands.

• All hands will receive instruction on the new policy and expectations for personal behavior. In cases in which sailors are assigned to non-Navy units or are unavailable, they will complete the training with their parent command or online.

• Separate training will be provided to those who will enforce or support the new policy, such as recruiters, judge advocates and chaplains.

“The path to repeal of [don’t ask, don’t tell] requires informed and proactive leadership at every level,” Roughead said in the NAVADMIN message. “I am counting on each of you.”

And from Outserve, the underground network of LGBTs in active service, has published a communication from the Navy brass regarding implementation of repeal – and a timeline. A snippet (I modified the case for readability; the original is in all caps):

A TIERED APPROACH TO ENSURE PERSONNEL RECEIVE THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF TRAINING. THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THIS TRAINING WILL FOCUS ON LEADERSHIP, PROFESSIONALISM, DISCIPLINE, AND RESPECT.

A. LEADERSHIP. This is a major policy change and focused leadership is required to set conditions for success for unit cohesion, readiness, and the effectiveness of a given command. Frontline leaders are tasked with building unit cohesion and maintaining readiness in a diverse force to meet mission requirements. By providing leaders at all levels with accurate information, we enhance our ability to ensure a smooth policy transition with minimal disruption to the force.

B. PROFESSIONALISM. We have taken an oath as military professionals to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and we are committed to our navy core values. Emphasizing these professional obligations in a post-repeal environment will reinforce expectations of personal behavior and will help reduce any impact a policy change may have on our effectiveness.

C. DISCIPLINE. The uniform code of military justice (UCMJ) emains the legal foundation of good order and discipline. The ucmj provides for enforcement of standards of conduct and laws and prohibits harassment, sexual assault, and other violence. Accountability is a cornerstone of good order and discipline and will continue to guide standards of acceptable behavior.

D. RESPECT. As leaders we must focus on our values and Navy traditions as the foundation for maintaining the strength of our force. Central to that strength is treating all people with respect and dignity regardless of sexual orientation.

 

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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