The Pentagon said it will comply with this week’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that ordered the government to stop enforcing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy prohibiting homosexuals from openly serving in the US military. Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said the Defense Department is informing commands worldwide of the order. The court issued the ruling on Wednesday, lifting a stay put in place last November to keep the policy in effect while the legal challenge to the ban worked its way through the circuit court. The court’s ruling comes as the Pentagon continues to press forward with implementing the repeal of the policy, per the law that President Obama signed last December. “Implementation of the DADT repeal . . . is proceeding smoothly, is well under way, and certification is just weeks away,” said Lapan. During this process, the DADT policy has remained in effect. In April, the Air Force discharged an airman under it, although this airman appeared to openly declare his homosexuality so that he would be separated from service—as opposed to being forced out against his will. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (Court order)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.