WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2011 -- Training will begin shortly for experts in certain specialties and leaders as part of the plan for finalizing repeal of the law that bars gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving openly in the military, the chief of staff for the Defense Department's repeal implementation team said here today.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Steven A. Hummer outlined the process in an interview.

President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the law commonly known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Dec. 22, beginning a process that will culminate in full repeal.

The current policy remains in effect until 60 days after the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the president certify the military's readiness to implement the repeal.

Gates has said he wants repeal done expeditiously and effectively, and that it can happen this year.

Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, issued a memo Feb. 10, to the military secretaries on the implementation plan.

"The memo continues the pre-implementation process," Hummer said. Now, the general added, the team is ensuring all the policies are prepared so that when repeal day actually occurs they will go into effect.

The implementation team also is ensuring that training is in place for all 2.2 million members of the military. The Defense Department, along with representatives from all five services, developed and synchronized the training.

"The services will each put their colors and their appropriate culture into those [plans]," he said. "The Navy will talk about petty officers, and the Marines will talk about sergeants."

Training is broken into three tiers. "Tier 1 and Tier 2 training will start in earnest soon," the general said. Tier 1 training is for people who have unique skill sets, such as chaplains, lawyers, personnel specialists, military investigators and recruiters, he explained. Tier 2 training is for leaders, and Tier 3 training is for the force at large.

"This is leader-led training," Hummer said. "Our over-arching theme is leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect."

Leaders at every level will be responsible for training their people, he said. "Professionalism is the expectation across all the services," Hummer said. "This is a disciplined force, and we expect to see that as the training and repeal go into place. Lastly, respect is what everybody expects to receive and what everybody should give."

The training will include some PowerPoint presentations with vignettes to encourage discussions, as well as presentations by the service chiefs that will introduce the topic and provide their intents for the forces.

The services will deliver the first of many progress reports to Stanley on March 1.

Page last updated Mon February 14th, 2011 at 19:17