Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen George W. Casey sent an e-mail to troops over the weekend about Congress' "Don't Ask Don't Tell" repeal compromise. The legislation, which has been passed by the House and a Senate subcommittee, would give authority to repeal DADT to the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense after the military issues a formal report in December.
In the e-mail, McHugh and Casey complain about Congress's efforts to repeal DADT, saying, "such an action taken before the men and women of the Armed Forces were consulted could be seen as a reversal of our commitment to hear the views of our Soldiers and Families before the law was repealed."
They go on to implore soldiers to tell others to "resist that urge to think that this is a 'done deal'." They hint strongly that Congress' actions aren't important since the military has to sign off on the repeal as well. The two also ask officers to tell "your soldiers and your Families [sic]" that "the current law remains in effect."
A copy of the e-mail and some thoughts from one of the active duty soldiers who sent it in are after the jump.
One of the soldiers who sent the e-mail on to me is a supporter of the just-passed Congressional compromise.
"I see the importance of having a level of approval and support within the Pentagon and the Military itself to ensure our respect following implementation," he said. "I would much rather wait another year and it come from our military leaders, than do it now, which would make the service members feel it was forced upon them, thus bringing a certain respectability to the process from within."
He's also quick to point out the hypocrisy in the e-mail's wording and questions the message the commanders are sending the troops. "I do not think it wise for leaders in the Military right now to be writing, 'many of you were disappointed'," he said.
"Of course they forgot to mention that many of us are not disappointed, and it still angers me that they refer to straight service members as 'those most affected,' when in fact they are not. They may be, but personally I have seen no effort on the behalf of the Pentagon to speak with those of us who truly are 'those most affected'."
From: General Officer Management Office (GOMO)
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010. 2:29 AM
Subject:SA/COS Sends: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
We know many of you were disappointed in the House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committee votes on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Understandably, such an action taken before the men and women of the Armed Forces were consulted could be seen as a reversal of our commitment to hear the views of our Soldiers and Families before the law was repealed. It should not be.
You should know that the amendment passed last night does preserve our prerogatives to provide our informed advice to the Secretary of Defense and the President before the law is repealed. It contains a provision that the amendment will not go into effect until the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff complete the review and certify that the implementation of the policies and regulations to implement the repeal are consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.
Please get this information to your soldiers and Families and ask them to resist that urge to think that this is a "done deal" and that their input is unimportant. It is imperative that they continue to provide their candid responses to the review team. We remain committed to hearing your views and concerns conveying them to our leadership before going forward on such an important issue in a time of war. Also remind them that the current law remains in effect.
On this Memorial Day weekend, we thank you and your Families for your service. We ask that, at some time over the weekend, you pause and remember the more than one million men and women who have given their lives for this country over our history.
George W. Casey, Jr. John M. McHugh
General, United States Army Secretary of the Army
Chief of Staff