Anticipated Delay in Certifying DADT’s End Seen As Unnecessary

Politico.com’s Morning Defense column is reporting today (12-20-2010) about a new Palm Center study that concludes that the Pentagon could easily train the entire force in preparation for the elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

According to the study, “any claim that DADT cannot be repealed until after the completion of exhaustive training is inconsistent with actual military needs.” The Palm Center provided a preliminary copy of the study to Politico.com and will publish a final version this week.

The new study reviews tools that the Pentagon uses to rapidly train the entire force, including troops deployed in combat zones, and offers case studies in which the Defense Department provided force-wide training within a matter of days or weeks. The study shows as well that in most cases, the Pentagon implements new policy concurrent with training, rather than waiting for the completion of training before implementing new rules. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to demand a delay lasting through most of 2011 to train the forces in preparation for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Palm Center scholars argue that training for the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is an uncomplicated task. Aaron Belkin, Palm’s Director, said that “the troops already know how to interact with gays because they do so every day.” The RAND Corporation concluded in 1993 that the “new policy should be kept as simple as possible,” and lessons from foreign militaries confirm the same point. Belkin added that, “When you read the Pentagon’s 87-page implementation plan, you see that the transition requirements can be boiled down to just two things: strong leadership and simple rules. This really isn’t rocket science.”

The Palm Center is a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 1998, the Center has been a leader in commissioning and disseminating research in the areas of gender, sexuality, and the military. For more information, visit http://www.palmcenter.org.

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