The U.S. military is moving ahead with plans to end its "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving in the military. Pentagon officials talked to reporters today about the process and explained that they still can't say exactly when the new policy of allowing gays to serve openly in the military will officially go into effect.
Rachel Martin was at a briefing and tells All Things Considered host Michele Norris that the first step is to train service members on the new policy, helping them to understand how they are expected to behave when it is implemented.
Once Defense Secretary Robert Gates is satisfied that enough troops have been trained, he will certify that the military is ready to change its policy. Martin says that will then trigger a 60-day countdown to the moment when the new policy actually takes effect and "don't ask, don't tell is consigned to the history books.
Congress repealed the ban late last year on gays serving openly in the military. The president then signed the bill into law. But it was left up to the Pentagon to determine exactly how and when the policy would be put on active duty.