Pentagon Confirms New DADT Discharges
June 27 2011 3:30 PM ET
The Pentagon confirmed Monday that more service members have been discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” pending certification of the policy’s repeal, with one individual’s discharge approved as recently as Thursday.
A total of four airmen have been discharged under the policy in the last several weeks, Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed Monday.
One of those individuals is Airman First Class Albert Pisani, who spoke to The Advocate earlier this month of his voluntary separation under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which defense officials approved on April 29.
Air Force spokesman Maj. Joel Harper told The Advocate that the discharges of three additional service members — two female staff sergeants and one male second lieutenant— have been approved since an April 29 discharge. Harper declined to say whether Pisani was the April 29 discharge, citing confidentiality reasons.
When The Advocate story ran, Defense officials had said that the separation approved April 29 was the only such discharge under DADT since late October, when the Defense Department limited authority for discharges to just five senior officials.
But in a statement, Harper confirmed the additional discharges since. “On May 31st, 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force approved discharges of two Airmen under the provisions of 10 USC 654 [the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy],“ Harper said. “On June 23, 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force accepted the resignation of an Airman who asked to be separated under the provisions of [DADT].”
Harper said that all four individuals discharged had made voluntary statements regarding their sexual orientation and had asked to be “separated expeditiously.”
Despite the urging of gay service member groups to certify DADT repeal prior to the exit of outgoing Defense secretary Robert Gates, who leaves office Thursday, certification may not come until late July or early August, Gates told wire service AFP Thursday.
His successor, CIA director Leon Panetta, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a prepared statement for his confirmation hearing earlier this month that he “will work closely with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to assess whether the elements for certification in the law are met before signing it myself.”