Gates: New Pentagon chief will certify repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Robert Gates (left) and Leon Panetta

Robert Gates (left) and Leon Panetta

Retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday said that repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” will be certified as early as late July.

Robert Gates (left) and Leon Panetta

Gates said the Pentagon is making the necessary preparations to ease the transition for his successor, and that repeal won’t hit any unnecessary delays.

Gates, revising his earlier forecasts, said in an interview that final approval to end the prohibition would be left for his successor at the Pentagon, Leon Panetta, who is due to take over from Gates on July 1. […]

I wanted to get this started because when Mr. Panetta comes in he’s obviously going to have a lot of things on his plate…And I was concerned that if I didn’t get this started it might be delayed several weeks until he was able to get to it and inform himself about it. […]

He added: “I think our hope would be that we would be in a position, and I underscore the word hope, to provide the certification sometime in the last half of July, early August.”

“I will not certify,” said Gates, but added he had launched preparations to pave the way for the move.

Panetta’s entry into the Pentagon brings in a wealth of experience, having served as President Bill Clinton‘s Chief of Staff, and most recently as Director of the CIA.

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