Santa Barbara, Calif. – Today, Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin released this statement following the Senate’s 65-31 passage of legislation to conditionally repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”:
“Today, the Palm Center salutes the U.S. Senate for this courageous vote, which will improve national security and allow gay and lesbian troops to be treated with the same dignity as their straight counterparts. This is a historic day for the military and for the American tradition of civil rights, but this process does not end here. We expect the Pentagon to shortly announce its demand for a lengthy period of training and education to prepare the troops for open gay service, possibly lasting though much of 2011, before repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ can be certified.
The Palm Center will imminently release a study showing that this demand is not based on actual military needs. In fact, the Pentagon has the capacity to train the forces immediately, within a matter of weeks. The RAND Corporation’s research has found that the way to minimize any disruption from the implementation of open gay service is to proceed quickly and with strong leadership. Only three steps are needed to assure a smooth and quick transition to open gay service: an immediate executive order from President Obama suspending all discharges; a few weeks to put the new regulations in place; and following this, immediate certification to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.'”