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H.R. 1540 jeopardizes DADT repeal

by rescuetruth on May 24th, 2011

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (112th Congress 2011).  Section 533 of NDAA requires that the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force supply what amounts to their written approval to proceed with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.  The current law requires that the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sign off prior to implementation of DADT repeal.

The text of Section 533 of H.R. 1540 reads:

The Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force each submit to the congressional defense committees the officer’s written certification that repeal of section 654 of title 10, United States Code, will not degrade the readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, and morale of combat arms units and personnel of the Armed Force under the officer’s jurisdiction engaged in combat, deployed to a combat theater, or preparing for deployment to a combat theater.

The requirement proposed by House Republicans would needlessly continue discrimination within the armed forces, and would represent a significant barrier if H.R. 1540 were passed.  As of December 2010, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Amos, voiced opposition to the repeal of the DADT policy (Keyes 2010).  It seems unlikely that Amos would provide his approval, if added as a condition of repeal.  The President, Secretary of Defense, and the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, all support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  72 percent of the public and the majority of those serving also support the repeal of the policy (SLDN 2011).

The House Republicans’ attempt to delay DADT repeal will not succeed, and, even if it did, it would only delay the inevitable.  House Republicans should get on the right side of history, and end this charade.

Works Cited

112th Congress. “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” The Library of Congress. 2011. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.1540: (accessed May 24, 2011).

Keyes, Charley. “Marine commandant repeats his opposition to scrapping DADT.” CNN. December 14, 2010. http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-14/us/marine.commandant.dadt_1_marine-commandant-amos-distraction?_s=PM:US (accessed May 24, 2011).

SLDN. “About “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.” Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. 2011. http://www.sldn.org/pages/about-dadt (accessed May 24, 2011).

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