IWAKUNI, Japan – President Barack Obama signed The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act Dec. 22, 2010, which set the conditions for the repeal of the U.S. military’s DADT policy.
The law is slated to be repealed 60 days after the president, Secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certify to Congress the law requirements have been met.
One vital repeal requirement is to ensure all military personnel execute training and implement changes in a manner consistent with readiness and unit cohesion, while treating all Marines and sailors with dignity and respect.
Marines of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron gathered to receive tier three training for the implementation of the repeal of the DADT Policy in the Building 1 auditorium here Tuesday.
“This is a one-time only training,” said Lt. Col. Mick Wagoner, station judge advocate. “Commanders have been tasked by the commandant to pass the word to all their Marines and sailors about the changes, which are coming when DADT has been repealed. We are all getting this training and the Marine Corps will be complete by May 31.”
The purpose of the training was to inform all military personnel about the repeal and its potential effects on the Marine Corps, as well as reinforce expectations of exemplary conduct and professionalism from all Marines.
“We talked a little bit about the background of how we got to where we are now, what the guidance has been as far as what we have been issued and mandated and mainly how it’s going to affect us as a service,” said Lt. Col. Michael R. Coletta, H&HS commanding officer.
Marine Administrative Message 108/11 was released Feb 11. to provide guidance for the training, which was broken down into three tiers.
Tier one training was implemented for military and Department of Defense personnel positioned at the expert and special staff level to include staff judge advocates, chaplains, recruiters, military law enforcement and equal opportunity advisors to advise subject matter experts about how to answer questions and concerns, which may come up about the repeal.
Tier two training was implemented to provide guidance and information for Marine commanders, senior enlisted advisors and civilian supervisors of Marines about the commander’s toolkit and how to relay the message to all enlisted personnel.
The commander’s toolkit provided guidance, talking points, briefs and references including the DADT video message released Jan. 28. by Gen. James E. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, sergeant major of the Marine Corps.
Talking points focused on four main key points: leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect. Coletta also relayed to his Marines a quote in a memo from the secretary of defense, dated Jan. 28.
“Strong engaged and informed leadership will be required at every level in order to implement the repeal,” he said. Until the official date of repeal, Title 10 United States Code, Section 654 and associated policies, otherwise known as DADT, are slated to remain in effect. Policies slated to change pertain to accessions and separations, said Wagoner.
Upon repeal of the DADT policy, sexual orientation will no longer be a factor in recruitment and retention.
Lawful homosexual acts, statements or marriage will not be a bar for military service entry, continued service, nor grounds for discharge.
In spite of changes to DADT and associated policies, many Marine Corps policies are slated to remain the same. All Marines will still be held to the standards of conduct of the Marine Corps and evaluations will continue to be based on merit, fitness and capability, said Coletta. “Everything we do has applicability in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It’s the legal foundation which maintains good order and discipline.”
There are no plans to segregate facilities, quarters, berthing or practices based on sexual orientation or collect data based on sexual orientation. Medical policies are not slated to change due to the repeal of DADT and will not be affected, said Coletta.
There are also no DoD sponsored co-location assignments or extended benefits for same-sex dual-military couples; however, service members are slated to be granted privacy protection applicable to information voluntarily provided by members such as beneficiary and emergency notification contact information.