Gates could certify this month

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that he may be able to certify the military’s readiness to enact repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before he retires from office June 30.

Gates made his remarks in an interview with Associated Press, and Gates’ exact quote on the matter was not conveyed. But according to the AP report, Gates indicated that he sees no hurdles to certification and that, if his military branch chiefs say they are ready to implement repeal, he will certify it.

Pentagon officials had predicted they would be ready to certify the military’s readiness to enact repeal in mid-summer; but, the Marine Corps—which had given itself the deadline of May 30—missed its deadline. A Marine spokesperson did not respond to a reporter’s call for explanation.

The measure passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last December to repeal the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers calls for repeal to take place 60 days after the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President each send written certification to Congress, saying the repeal can take place without jeopardizing military readiness.

The House recently passed language seeking to require written certification from each of the branch chiefs, which many believe would slow down certification. But that measure is not expected to pass the Senate. Though it could become a bargaining chip once the Senate-House conference committee on the National Defense Authorization Act convenes, it could become moot, if Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen certify before then. Mullen is scheduled to retire October 1.

Leave a Reply