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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Secretary of Defence Lauds DADT Repeal

"First of all, let me acknowledge that this is an historic day for the Pentagon and for the nation. As of 12:01 a.m. this morning, we have the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," pursuant to the law that was passed by the Congress last December. Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America’s all about - equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans.

As Secretary of Defense, I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant. These are men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country, and that’s what should matter the most.

I want to thank the repeal implementation team and the service secretaries along with the service chiefs for all of their efforts to ensure that DOD is ready to make this change, consistent with standards of military readiness, with military effectiveness, with unit cohesion and with the recruiting and retention of the armed forces.

All of the service chiefs have stated very clearly that all of these elements have been met in the review that they conducted. Over 97 percent of our 2.3 million men and women in uniform have now received education and training on repeal as as result of these efforts.

I also want to thank the Comprehensive Review Working Group for the work they did on the report that laid the groundwork for the change in this policy, and above all, I’d like to single out the person who’s next to me at this table, Admiral Mike Mullen. His courageous testimony and leadership on this issue, I think, were major factors in bringing us to this day. And he deserves a great deal of credit for what has occurred."

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, September 20, 2011.

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