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Palm Center DADT Changes Must be Efficient

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Changes that Defense secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen are expected to implement to begin repealing "don't ask, don't tell" would put an end to some investigations based on third-party allegations, according to the Palm Center.

The reportedly imminent policy changes would also provide a new set of standards as to what constitutes reliable sources and credible information to launch a "don't ask, don't tell" investigation.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is calling the changes the "Obama Rule."

"Depending on how it's implemented, the executive action taken by the President could be seismic," he said in a statement on Monday. "'Don't ask, don't tell' has rested on the belief that the presence of openly gay service members is always bad for the military. The new Obama Rule would mean a shift in the military's focus toward keeping gay troops, reflecting the military's belief that they are as essential as their heterosexual peers."

Author and Palm Center senior research fellow Nathaniel Frank added that the impact of the expected announcement would depend on how quickly and efficiently the changes are made.

"The evidence is overwhelming that a quick turnaround on policy change minimizes disruptions to unit cohesion and morale," he said. "If this is the goal, there should be no slow-rolling of the implementation process."

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