Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants training to begin as soon as possible, and has ordered the Defense Department to accelerate the steps it will take to reach that point, Stars and Stripes reports:
Gates in a Pentagon press conference revealed a three-step plan: finalize changes in related regulations and policies, and get clearer definitions on benefits; prepare training materials for chaplains, lawyers, commanders and troops; and then begin to train servicemembers worldwide.
“We’re trying to get the first two phases of that process done as quickly as possible,” Gates said, adding he has instructed Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley to accelerate his efforts. “My hope is that it can be done within a matter of a very few weeks so that we can then move on to what is the real challenge, which is providing training to 2.2 million people. And we will do that as expeditiously as we can.”
Still, Joint Service Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen said it was still not safe for troops to come out. Said Mullen: "We certainly are focused on this and we won’t dawdle.”