Pentagon relaxes Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy

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ARLINGTON, VA - MARCH 25: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen (R) speak to members of the media during a press briefing at the Pentagon March 25, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. Gates announced that the Pentagon will ease the enforcement of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced today that the Pentagon will alter how it handles military discharges under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Under the revised policy, information shared with clergy, lawyers, psychotherapists and doctors would be kept confidential. Only more experienced officers will be able to initiate complaints, and must do so under oath.

"I believe these changes represent an important improvement in the way the current law is put into practice, above all by providing a greater measure of common sense and common decency for handling what are complex and difficult issues for all involved," Gates told a Pentagon news conference.

Military command must continue to enforce the law that bans gays from serving openly unless Congress repeals it.

“It remains the law and we remain obligated to enforce it,” Gates said. “At the same time these changes will allow us to execute the law in a fairer and more appropriate manner.”

More on the AirTalk page, as Politico's Pentagon reporter Jen DiMascio joins Larry Mantle this morning.

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