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Gates says study on gays should include troops

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that a Pentagon review of how the ban on openly gay military service could be lifted must involve troops and their families at all levels of the armed forces without ensnaring them in the political debate.

In a memo outlining a sweeping nine-month study, Gates said the assessment should be done by Dec. 1. "It is critical that this effort be carried out in a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner," Gates wrote. "Given the political dimension of this issue, it is equally critical that in carrying out this review, every effort be made to shield our men and women in uniform and their families from those aspects of this debate."

The internal assessment is the first of its kind since 1993, when the Pentagon's adopted its "don't ask, don't tell" policy based on a law banning service members from acknowledging that they are gay.

Other Washington news

SUCCESSION revise: Who would act as defense secretary if Gates, 66, died or resigned and his deputy, Bill Lynn, couldn't do it? President Barack Obama has decided the Army secretary — a position now held by former Republican Rep. John McHugh of New York — should. Obama's little-noticed March 1 executive order reverses President George W. Bush's doomsday plan, which bumped the service secretaries and elevated the most loyal advisers to the defense secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld.

CYBER PLAN: The Obama administration gave the public a peek at the Bush administration's classified plan to secure the nation's computer systems, but the newly revealed list of broad goals provided few surprises and key provisions remain secret. The decision to publish a summary of the cyber initiative on the White House blog came just a month after the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking release of the computer security document.

JUDGE SEATED: The Senate unanimously confirmed Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Milano Keenan to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The vote was 99-0 for Keenan, the first female judge elected in Virginia and the only woman appointed to the Virginia Court of Appeals when it was created in 1985. The Richmond-based Fourth Circuit covers Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

PLANE GROUNDEd: Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the service's plan to use the Pentagon's marquee fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, will probably be delayed two years and cost significantly more than expected.

NEW POVERTY scale: To highlight the increasing numbers of poor Americans, the government is adopting a formula expected to double the number of older people classified as living in poverty to nearly 1 in 5. The measure will not replace the official poverty rate but will be published alongside that figure next year as a "supplement" for federal agencies and state governments.

Gates says study on gays should include troops 03/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 11:07pm]
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