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During his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said that the policy would be repealed this year, though he gave no firm date.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

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