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Defense official: Troops should take care regarding "don't ask" policy

By Chris Lawrence and Adam Levine, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The memo notes that "uncertainty exists" regarding "don't ask, don't tell"
  • Service members are told that "altering their personal conduct" might not be a good idea
  • Military lawyers have been advised to hold off proceedings related to the policy

Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. military is telling troops they should not do anything rash in light of the recent injunction stopping the military's policy of not allowing known gay troops to serve.

The memo, sent to the secretaries of the military services by Undersecretary of Defense Clifford Stanley, notes the department will abide by the injunction but also suggests it would continue the policy if that injunction is canceled by an appeals court.

The government has appealed the ruling and requested the injunction be put aside while the appeal is considered. That has created a limbo in terms of how the military deals with its gay policy.

On Thursday military lawyers were advised to stop any related investigations or procedures.

In the new memo, Clifford warns that service members should take care, given that "uncertainty exists" about the future of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"We note for servicemembers that altering their personal conduct in this legally uncertain environment may have adverse consequences for themselves or others should the court's decision be reversed," Clifford wrote.

He adds that the Department of Defense is committed to continuing its review of what impact the removal of the policy would have on readiness and morale.