Even though there are those that think that this law somehow means that DADT is finally dead, there remains one last battle to ensure that DADT will be finally removed. That one last battle is certification. Now, what's certification, and what does it have to do with ensuring the death of DADT?
Now, DADT as a policy will still remain in effect until the White House, along with the Secretary of Defense, and the military chiefs certify a plan to minimize "disruption" in the armed services.
Even after the repeal bill is signed into law by the president, the "don’t ask, don’t tell" strictures will remain in place until the White House and Pentagon certify a plan to minimize disruption on the services.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he would not do that until the service chiefs are confident the moves will not disrupt combat operations, and refused to set any specific timeline on how long that might take. Three of the four service chiefs have strongly resisted repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law during wartime, although they have testified that troops would adapt if Congress mandates it.
Even Robert Gates himself has said that DADT itself will still remain in effect until the certification plan passes. That's why continued activism from our gay activists and straight allies is so important in making sure that our men and women in uniform no longer suffer the indignity of being dismissed for who they are. Imagine that---continued dismissals, investigations, and badges of shame instead of honor, all during the continued "enactment" of this law in name only without the certification plan. It will continue to happen unless we stand up and fight against it.
"It is ... important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today’s historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time. In the meantime, the current law and policy will remain in effect.
Successful implementation will depend upon strong leadership, a clear message and proactive education throughout the force. With a continued and sustained commitment to core values of leadership, professionalism and respect for all, I am convinced that the U.S. military can successfully accommodate and implement this change, as it has others in history."--Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense.
Now, discharges while this law is awaiting signature of the President can be still carried out against our men and women in uniform. The certification process will still take months to complete, as the Washington Post reports here:
The ban will not be formally lifted until after Obama and top military leaders report to Congress that they have reviewed the findings of the Pentagon review about the ban, released last month, and that the Defense Department has drafted policies and regulations to stop enforcing it. Those changes must not affect troop readiness, cohesion or military recruitment and retention, according to the law.
Even after the finding, lawmakers will be able to hold hearings for two months to review the Pentagon's policies and procedures for accepting openly gay troops, according to congressional aides familiar with the matter.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned Saturday that the law remains in effect and that the process of implementing the change in policy "will take an additional period of time."
What can be done to stop discharges while DADT is still in effect? An executive order can be signed. As we've seen in the vote for DADT repeal, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and gay activists and their straight allies have done a great deal of work in making this happen. Would it have been done without them? Clearly not. History is rife with examples of leaders rarely doing the right thing themselves without outside activist pressure.
And that pressure came from Clarknt67, one of our kossacks here on Dailykos, Lt. Dan Choi, GetEqual, SLDN, Courage Campaign, and their straight allies along with members of Congress. My thanks go out to them all for this remarkable achievement in history, and to President Barack Obama for signing the bill.
UPDATE: You all should read why it's important to get a nondiscrimination policy in effect in the armed services. It wasn't a part of DADT repeal, which means even though people can be open, they can still be fired for being gay or refused to be hired by their potential employers.