By Maj. Joel Harper
WASHINGTON – Little Rock Air Force Base officials will soon begin training Airmen in anticipation of the repeal of the law and policy commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
This training will help Airmen understand what is expected in a post-repeal environment, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.
“I know our Airmen will approach this issue professionally, and will continue to adhere faithfully to our core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do,” General Schwartz said. “Implementing this change while fighting a war is challenging, but I have no doubt that the Air Force will do this in a way that minimizes operational impact and successfully accomplishes the important task of training our force.”
The first tier of training will focus on Air Force experts responsible for implementing policy changes and personnel providing repeal-related services to Airmen. This group includes several functional communities including chaplains, judge advocates and benefit counselors. This training explains guidance for implementing policy changes, and includes tools and information to help these experts answer Airmen’s questions about the repeal.
The second tier will focus on Air Force leaders, and will assist commanders, senior NCOs, and civilian supervisors in preparing for and implementing repeal. The final tier will train and prepare the broader force while reinforcing expectations of professional and personal conduct through engagement by experts and leaders at all levels. The training for all tiers will commence on the same date, and training will occur concurrently.
“We need to ensure our changes in policy happen in a professional, deliberate manner,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy. “This training is an important part of making the transition, and it should answer many questions that Airmen at all levels have been asking.”
Airmen will have ample training opportunities, said Col. Jeff White, the leader of the education and training working group for the Air Force repeal implementation team. The training is a standardized program developed by armed services officials working in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of Defense repeal implementation team.
“This training explains the new policies and provides information about specific behaviors, statements and actions to our Airmen, ensuring a consistent understanding grounded in an organizational climate of dignity and respect,” Colonel White said. “When local conditions or mission requirements demand additional training, commanders may supplement accordingly. However, they must include, at a minimum, the information in the Air Force-approved briefings.”
Face-to-face training is the Air Force-preferred training method, but in the event that this is not possible, computer-based training is authorized to facilitate training completion.
Additionally, a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal site will open on the Air Force Portal and will include informational resources for leaders at all levels to include lesson plans and slide presentations, frequently asked questions, vignettes, guiding principles, and the “Top 10 Things You Need to Know,” Colonel White said.
“The Air Force will accomplish this training expeditiously, in the disciplined, professional manner our nation expects from its Airmen,” Colonel White said.
Repeal of the policy was set into motion Dec. 22, 2010, when the president signed legislation that set conditions that must be met prior to the repeal of title 10, United States Code, section 654, “Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces.” The current law and policy remains in effect until 60 days after certification by the president, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“By following our core values, we will successfully implement this change with the same unparalleled professionalism we have demonstrated with every transformation we have undertaken, in both peace and war,” General Schwartz said.