Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the directives were the result of a 45-day review of what the Pentagon can do in the short term within the confines of existing law to allow implementation in a "fair and more appropriate manner."
In the directives, Gates raised the rank of those allowed to begin investigation procedures against suspected violators of "don't ask, don't tell," which bars homosexuals from serving openly in the military, Reuters informs.
According to The Associated Press, military officials, Republicans and even some conservative Democrats have been reluctant to embrace a change in the existing law. They say they support Gates' review of the policy but that no changes should be made if they might undermine military cohesion and effectiveness.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and other Democrats say the time has come to repeal the ban and have called for an immediate moratorium on dismissals.
Nathaniel Frank, a senior research fellow with the Palm Center, which supports a repeal of the ban, said it is unclear how much of an impact the new guidelines would have because regulations already restrict third-party allegations.
Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel “have also concluded that these changes are consistent with the existing 1993 law that says homosexuality is incompatible with military service,” Gates said, Army Times reported.