Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the first indication of a move toward the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” late last week when he released a memo calling on military leaders to draft training material needed before the repeal’s implementation.

According to the memos, the effective date of repeal has yet to be determined, but they do, however, outline the upcoming policy changes each branch of the military will face after the law is overturned.

The memos also state that once repeal is certified, the military will no longer be allowed to discharge members of the armed services because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation and must cease all open investigations regarding gay servicemembers.  The change in policy will also allow previously discharged soldiers the opportunity to re-enlist.

Defense secretary lays out plan for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal implementation

Gates wrote: “Your responsibility by virtue of this memorandum is to facilitate the timely and orderly realization of these conditions across the Department. Your plan for accomplishing these tasks is due to me by February 4, 2011.”

The president, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Secretary all have to certify that the military is able to handle repeal with minimal affect on morale, retention and unit cohesion. After certification, the policy will remain in effect for a further 60 days.

During his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said that the policy would be repealed this year, though he gave no firm date.

Both Defense Department memos can be found online at C-SPAN’s website: