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'Don't ask' report due Dec. 1
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The report of the working group looking at the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law will be released in full Dec. 1, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Thursday.
President Barack Obama has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to submit legislation to repeal the law as part of the Defense Authorization Bill. Reid said the Senate will look at this proposal after Thanksgiving.
“(President Obama) has made a call, as I understand it, to Senator (Carl) Levin this week and Senator Reid, I believe, as well, making it clear that he wants to see the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ attached to ... the National Defense Authorization Act,” Morrell told reporters at the Pentagon.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates supports repeal of the law that excludes openly gay service members from serving in the military.
“He was very clear then as well that there is a preferred order in doing things,” Morrell said.
Gates first wants a study done on the possible ramifications a repeal of the law would have on the force. The study group — led by Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter F. Ham — is nearly completed with its work. DOD officials are working from drafts of the report to assess what would have to be done in the event of a repeal of the law.
The plan is for the report to be delivered Dec. 1, “at which time it will be provided to the Congress; it will be provided to you, so everyone can see the nine-month effort that’s been under way to try to figure out the implications of a repeal and what needs to be done internally to prepare for that change,” Morrell said. “We’re almost there.”
DOD officials are getting feedback from the service secretaries and service chiefs on the report. That information also will be presented to Gates as he charts a course forward for the department, Morrell said.
The work on the report is being performed on parallel tracks rather than concurrently, Morrell said. The original plan was to present the report to the secretary and then distribute it to the services for comment.
“So we are right now finishing the report, working with the chiefs, working with the service secretaries, getting their input, finalizing this report, and at the same time ... formulating the way ahead for this department to proceed come Dec.1,” Morrell said. “All that hard work is being done simultaneously.”

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