Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed

Well, not quite yet.

The bill still needs to go to President Obama for signature, and even then “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will STILL BE IN EFFECT! It is NOT safe for gay servicemembers to come out of the closet yet.

I repeat:  IT IS NOT SAFE FOR GAY SERVICE MEMBERS TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET YET!

In order for repeal to become effective, a number of certifications must take place:

  • That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report released on November 30th and its proposed plan of action.
  • That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations
  • That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and the recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces

Those certifications must be transmitted to the congressional Armed Services Committee in writing, and be signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Once those certifications have been made, DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL IS STILL NOT REPEALED!

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell comes 60 days after the final certification is sent to the Armed Services Committee.  Not until that day will it be safe for gay service members to come out of the closet.  That won’t be until the middle of February AT THE EARLIEST!

So be patient guys, your time is coming.

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Lieutenant Colonel Lakin

 

LTC Terrance Lakin

A court-martial panel (the military’s version of a jury) composed of commissioned officers sentenced Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Terrance Lakin to six months confinement and dismissal from the service.  LTC Lakin made headlines earlier this year when he refused his deployment orders on the basis that President Obama had not proven his eligibility to serve as Commander-in-Chief, thereby invalidating any deployment orders.

He previously pleaded guilty on December 14th to Charge II, Violation of Article 92 of the UCMJ, which was composed of four separate specifications (known as “counts” in civilian terminology).  The panel found him guilty of Charge I, Violation of Article 87 of the UCMJ on December 15th.

Article 87 of the UCMJ covers the offense of Missing Movement, while Article 92 covers Failure to Obey Orders as well as Dereliction of Duty.  According to the Charge Sheet, the government charged LTC Lakin with missing the movement of US Airways Flight 1123 through design, and with four specifications of Article 92:  two specifications for failing to obey an order to report to his Brigade Commander’s office, one to report to Fort Campbell, and the final one for being derelict in his duty to report to Fort Campbell.  It is these charges and his sentence which I will discuss today.

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Operational Concerns

1.  This site is neither endorsed nor approved by either the U.S. Army or the JAG Corps.  JAGNCO.com is a personal website which I use to discuss cases that have hit the news, and break the issues down so the general public can understand what’s happening in that particular case.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Update

As you may be aware, there has been a lot of movement with Title 10, Section 654 of the US Code, better known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the last few months.  It really began earlier this year when Secretary Gates announced a revision to the policy.  That revision made a couple of important changes to how separation proceedings could begin and who had the authority to approve the separation.

It came to a head in early October when Virginia Phillips, a Federal Judge in California, ordered the military to cease enforcement of 10 USC 654.  For eight days in October, the DADT policy was effectively rescinded until President Obama’s Administration appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Ninth Circuit then temporarily stayed Judge Phillips’ injunction and DADT came back into force.

However, a day after the temporary stay was issued, Secretary Gates issued new guidelines for the enforcement of 10 USC 654.  With the rapid changes to the policy in the past couple of months, there may be some confusion as to what’s actually going on with it.  I intend to clarify the current policy with this post.

First and foremost:  DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL IS STILL IN EFFECT! I emphasize that because there may be a Servicemember who mistakenly believes that s/he can safely come out of the closet.  Nothing has changed regarding whether or not you can “tell.”  If you do, you will subject yourself to possible involuntary separation.  Nothing in this post should be construed as advice saying that it’s safe to come out of the closet; in fact, I am stating the opposite:  making a statement at this time that you are homosexual or bisexual will jeopardize your career.  Continue to serve in silence until the policy is either repealed or permanently rendered unenforceable.  You can seek legal advice from the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network if you accidentally make a statement regarding your orientation.  Do NOT come to me for help on this matter; while I do sympathize, support repeal, and would not disclose to anyone what you might tell me, I WORK FOR THE CHAIN OF COMMAND! I cannot assist you.  Contact SLDN instead.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s now discuss the most recent changes. Continue reading

Wikileaks: A Caution

It appears the last post I made was several months ago in April.  I’ve been slacking.  Anyway…

Wikileaks has released yet another cache of classified materials allegedly provided by PFC Bradley Manning.  I intend to post my thoughts on him in a future update, but today I would like to issue a caution toward my fellow Servicemembers.

After the last release of classified documents by wikileaks, the Pentagon issued a statement that was widely derided by many, but it was 100% valid and true then and remains so today.  Despite the release of these documents into the public domain by wikileaks, they have not been declassified and their release is unauthorized.

For those of us who possess clearances, we are fully aware of the requirements associated with the proper handling of classified materials.  All incidents of spillage (the introduction of classified materials onto unclassified media or networks) are required to be reported immediately and action taken to minimize or eliminate the spillage.  That is essentially what these leaks are:  spillage on a massive scale.  We are also aware of the fact that spillage does not remove a document’s classification.

Classification changes due to spillage work only one way — up:  unclassified material can be spilled onto a classified medium or network.  In such events, the unclassified material automatically takes on the highest classification of the system it’s introduced to; but, classifications cannot be downgraded through spillage.

What does all this mean?  Simple:  the materials released by Wikileaks retain their original classification.  It is a crime to introduce classified material onto unclassified systems.  I strongly caution my fellow Servicemembers to avoid viewing the documents on either their government computers or their personal computers / devices.  While nothing may ever come of it, do you really want to risk your clearance / career over this?

Steer clear of Wikileaks.

Deployment: Day Three

After a few hours, I was finally able to grab a shower and get some sleep.  I wound up not sleeping as long as I wanted because the cleaning crew came into the tent.  I have an idea of when the unit is departing for our final destination, but I’m not posting that information on here due to OPSEC concerns.

Manas Air Base so far seems to be a nice place to be, relatively speaking.  I don’t have too much to say about it quite yet; that may change once I’ve explored it a little more.  I’m actually able to get a cell signal on my iPhone and made a couple of calls last night.  I’ll probably regret that once I see the phone bill, but speaking to my cousin Jake was more important than worrying about the cost of international roaming.

The weather here is pleasant.  It’s not cold today and the sky is clear.  My understanding is that there were a couple of feet of snow a few days ago and the temperature was around 18˚.  Thankfully, that’s not true for today.

The time difference between here and Fort Huachuca is 11 hours, but I’m not feeling any affects from jet lag.  That’s probably due to having slept on the flight and to being used to traveling by plane so often.

Deployment: Day Two

After taking off from Bangor, we headed to Leipzig, Germany and landed there about 10:30 am local time. We spent a couple of hours at the airport before we departed again. After a few more hours, we landed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan around 11:00 pm local time.

Now we’re awaiting inprocessing briefings. Will probably be up for a couple of more hours before we’re bedded for the night. At least I was able to get plenty of rest on the plane.

Next stop in a day or two, Afghanistan.