Slow walk

Looks like no DADT repeal this year; a study and an effective administrative moratorium instead. Too bad.

Having read the State of the Union to mean that the Administration was ready to ask for repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year – presumably as part of the Defense authorization bill – I was unpleasantly surprised that Secretary Gates wants to stall for up to a year with another damned study.  (He’s going to ask RAND to reprise its 1993 study showing that the “unit cohesion” argument is bogus; what possible reason would there be to suspect a different result now?)

It looks as if the temporizing move will be to make administrative changes to drastically reduce the number of actual discharges before the legislative fix is in place.

On the bright side, the stall is just a stall; now that Adm. Mullen has come out flatly for repeal – as a matter of integrity – it’s just a matter of time.

Naturally, John McCain, who said two years ago that he’d support repeal if the top brass was OK with it, now has decided that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs doesn’t speak for the brass.  A man of integrity.  Not.

Footnote And it looks as if I’m going to owe Jonathan $100.

Update But the VP is saying the policy will be history by the end of the year.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

3 thoughts on “Slow walk”

  1. Mark, you may owe $100, but there is a sense in which you are right. If I remember correctly, you said Obama would wait until he had the top brass ready to go and bat for removing DADT – he would not go for it hell for leather and provoke a backlash (which happened to Clinton over this issue). That is more or less what has happened – Obama is quietly in the background and it is the Sec. of Defence & the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who are leading the push for change.

    It may be the Obama style of leading from the rear (where all good generals lead from) – I wonder are there times when that style has been less than effective i.e. with healthcare?

  2. This is happening. It has always been about getting effective compliance from mid-level and first line officers. A "let's do this" edict from the oval office last January would have been a disaster, both politically and at the level where orders are the order of the day. After a year of quiet communication down through the chain of command of the inevitability of the change, with a more or less steady series of statements from respected generals in and out of the service, everyone knows it is happening. The resistance, political and functional, will be futile and relatively short-lived. Well done, Mr. Obama, well done.

  3. Mark: "Footnote And it looks as if I’m going to owe Jonathan $100."

    Don't pull that money out, yet, Mark. If there's one thing that we've seen in this administration, it's that it isn't done until it's done.

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