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SLDN Calls on Military to Accelerate Timeline for DADT Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2011

Zeke Stokes: (202) 621-5406 or zeke@sldn.org
Paul DeMiglio: (202) 621-5408 or paul@sldn.org

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Calls on Military to Accelerate Timeline for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Training
Sarvis: “This training is not rocket science. The Services can get this done by April 30th.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ninety days after the President signed repeal legislation, Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis today called on the U.S. military to accelerate the timeline for training the nation’s armed forces for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” particularly highlighting the Army’s expected completion in August. An August certification would mean that full repeal could not take effect until October 2011.

“This training is not rocket science. The Services can get this done by April 30th,” said Sarvis. “The repeal legislation established only one requirement before the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs could certify that the armed forces were ready for repeal – that the Pentagon had prepared the necessary policies and regulations. Ninety days later, the relatively straightforward task has not been completed and we’re being told it won’t be completed for several more months.”

Sarvis also criticized the Pentagon for imposing “new and unnecessary” hurdles that must be cleared before certification and repeal may be completed.

“Pentagon leaders have developed plans to inform the force about the change in policy and have said that the ‘bulk’ of the training must take place before certification. That sounds reasonable on the surface, but no one has yet defined what ‘bulk’ means, and the Army has indicated that it will take until August to ready its forces for repeal. It’s simply taking too long, and it’s time to speed up the process,” said Sarvis.

In addition, SLDN renewed its call for the President to issue an executive order banning discrimination in the armed forces based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to be effective on the date of repeal.

“Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is not by itself enough. The job is not done. As the President has said, we must also implement anti-harassment policies and protocols and do everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible for our armed forces and our service members,” said Sarvis.

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STILL AT RISK: Despite the President signing the bill authorizing repeal of DADT, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen. Warning to service members: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk

SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.

ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask” originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by the discriminatory law. Last year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.

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