[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/24/art.gates.gi.file.jpg caption="Robert Gates is expected to announce changes to 'don't ask don't tell' on Thursday."]Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to announce changes Thursday easing the Defense Department's controversial "don't ask don't tell" policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military, a senior Defense Department official has confirmed to CNN.
The official said one of the changes will be that outings by third parties may no longer be automatic grounds for initiating separation proceedings, especially if it is proven that the person making the allegation has a grudge against the military member.
Gates' announcement will focus on regulatory changes that can be made at the Pentagon without the approval of Congress, which has been debating whether to change the law. President Barack Obama has asked for a repeal of the controversial measure.