Panetta to Certify DADT Repeal New defense chief to start 60-day repeal countdown By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Jul 22, 2011 3:32 AM CDT Updated Jul 22, 2011 7:50 AM CDT 12 comments Comments Leon Panetta will be officially sworn in as defense secretary today. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will sign the death warrant for "Don't Ask Don't Tell" soon after he is officially sworn in today, according to Pentagon sources. Panetta and other defense chiefs will certify that the military is ready to ax the policy barring gays from serving openly, starting a 60-day process that will make DADT history by the end of September, the Washington Post reports. Most service members have now been trained on repeal of the policy and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told AP that officials were "mildly and pleasantly surprised at the lack of pushback in the training." A federal court in California has already blocked the military from penalizing or discharging openly gay service members.