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• First, the Pentagon will adopt regulations and communicate the importance of leadership.

• Second, Mr. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must certify to Congress that ending the ban will not harm the force.

• Third, there is a 60-day waiting period, after which military gays may become open about their sexuality.

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness and helped stop President Bill Clinton from ending the ban in 1993, predicted the force will indeed be harmed.

She criticized elements of the Pentagon’s November report that said troops must share berthing and showers with open gays. They also must undergo education classes that Mrs. Donnelly said will force them to change their attitudes and moral beliefs.

“A thorough reading of the entire report and its recommendations reveals not a single point or argument showing consequences that would benefit the all-volunteer force,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “The elitism and arrogance behind these flawed recommendations will cause years of harmful consequences, which our troops did nothing to deserve. History will hold accountable every legislator who voted to make it happen.”

Mr. Gates and the chiefs said they will make it work.

“Successful implementation will depend upon strong leadership, a clear message and proactive education throughout the force,” the defense secretary said. “With a continued and sustained commitment to core values of leadership, professionalism and respect for all, I am convinced that the U.S. military can successfully accommodate and implement this change, as it has others in history.”