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Pentagon finalizes plans for implementing repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal on December 22.
President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal on December 22.
  • Defense Department preparing to implement repeal of "don't ask, don't tell"
  • Training will be done on three levels, or tiers
  • Tiers one and two are for experts and senior leaders; tier three is for rank-and-file troops

Washington (CNN) -- It's been less than two months since President Barack Obama signed the bill that will eventually lead to repeal of the controversial ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. And the military is already taking steps to implement the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

The Pentagon released a memo Friday that finalizes how the department will begin adopting its policy to the new law, how it will train troops with regards to gays and lesbians serving openly and how it all will be communicated to Congress and the public.

The plan focuses on three tiers of training:

-- Tier one for experts who may frequently deal with "don't ask, don't tell" repeal matters, like chaplains and military lawyers.

-- Tier two for senior leaders who will need to oversee education and training of the troops in their command.

-- Tier three for the rank-and-file, active-duty service members, reservists and civilians working for the Defense Department.

On March 1 Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, will provide a progress report on the preparation for repeal to the White House, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The memo says the "don't ask, don't tell" law will not be repealed until, among other milestones, the tier one and tier two training is complete and tier three training is underway.

At that point, the secretary, chairman and the president will certify the department is ready for gay men and lesbians to serve openly. After the certification takes place, a 60-day countdown begins before repeal is officially implemented. That date has not been decided yet.