Thursday, March 25, 2010

Military to Revise ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Rules

The New York Times is reporting that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will announce measures today to make it more difficult for the military to expel openly gay service members, an interim plan while the Pentagon examines repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, officials said.

Officials said the new steps would include a requirement that only a general or admiral could initiate action in cases where service members were suspected of violating the prohibition against openly gay service in the armed forces.

The guidelines would also raise the standard required for evidence to be presented in such cases, an effort to prevent “malicious outing” by a third party or jilted partner, officials said.

Congressional action would be required to repeal the ban.

But the new measures, expected to be announced Thursday at a Pentagon news conference, would make good on Mr. Gates’s pledge to Congress last month that the military would move toward enforcing the current policy in a fairer, more humane manner.

“We believe that we have a degree of latitude within the existing law to change our internal procedures in a manner that is more appropriate and fair to our men and women in uniform,” Mr. Gates said last month.

A review is to be completed by the end of the year on how the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy might be ended. President Obama has called for Congress to repeal the law.

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