SEC. GATES: Well, everything having to do with the FY ’12 budget will go through the regular congressional budget process. So a lot of these program changes that I talked about clearly will have to — have to go through them.
Q: (Off mic) — “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it’s been a few weeks since the repeal. Can you give us an update on how anything has proceeded since then, given the promise was no foot-dragging?
SEC. GATES: Yeah. Our goal here is to — is to move as quickly but as responsibly as possible. I see this as a — as a three-step process. The first is to finalize changes in regulations, policies, get clearer definition on benefits.
The second phase is to then prepare the training materials for use first of all with the experts, if you will, the personnel people, the chaplains, the judge advocate generals; and second, the leaders, commanders; and then third, the troops. So there’s the policy piece, the training — preparation piece, and then the actual training.
We’re trying to get the first two phases of that process done as quickly as possible. My hope is that it can be done within a matter of a very few weeks so that we can then move on to what is the real challenge, which is providing training to 2.2 million people.
And we will — we will do that as expeditiously as we can. But as the — to use the term the chairman’s used, there’s just a certain element of physics associated with the number of people involved in this process.
But we are moving it as — and I have asked Under Secretary [Cliff] Stanley to accelerate the first two phases of this process as much as he possibly can so that we can get on with the training process. I was very struck by one of the chief’s comments that it’s better to — better to do this sooner rather than later. So we’re kind of approaching it with that — with that philosophy in mind.
ADM. MULLEN: The only thing I’d add is, just to remind, you know, the law has not changed, won’t until it is certified; and there’s 60 days after certification. And so now is not — from my perspective, you know, now is not the time to “come out,” if you will. We’ll get through this. We’ll do it deliberately. We certainly are focused on this. And we won’t — we won’t dawdle.