The certification process for final Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell repeal — the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, along with the President, must certify to Congress that the United States military is trained and ready for open service — was always subject to tinkering by subsequent Congresses. Duncan Hunter, R-CA52, has obliged — with more sand in the gears. He will introduce an amendment that will require additional military leaders’ certifications before open service is permitted.
During consideration of the national defense authorization act this week by the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Duncan Hunter will offer an amendment to require that all four military service chiefs certify that implementation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” repeal won’t impact combat readiness and effectiveness. The amendment mirrors legislation previously introduced by Hunter—H.R. 337, the Restore Military Readiness Act.
Hunter’s delaying tactic is based on a false premise: that the current certification program called for in law “excludes the service chiefs:”
“The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs should all take part in the certification process, but excluding the service chiefs is a mistake. They may agree to move forward with the repeal or they may have other recommendations for implementation and timing….”
In response to Congressman Hunter’s proposal to add another layer of Pentagon bureaucracy to the already-glacial pace of DADT repeal, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis released this statement:
“Make no mistake. The expected Duncan Hunter amendment is designed to slow down repeal. It serves no constructive purpose, as the service chiefs themselves recently testified they are already very much a part of the certification process with Chairman Mullen and Secretary Gates and see no need for the amendment Mr. Duncan is offering.
“Put quite simply, it’s time for these opponents of repeal to move on. The Congress, the President, our nation’s senior military leaders, and the American people have spoken on this issue.”
Does your Congressperson sit on the House Armed Services Committee? Please click through for contact information to let your representative know that you see no need for additional steps added into the certification process. DADT repeal is going well, albeit slowly. The service chiefs have testified they are well involved in the certification for DADT repeal. Congress needs to stand out of the way of the legal process.
Let’s not make it any more complicated for our brave men and women serving their country in silence.