WASHINGTON — Military training to apply the new law allowing gays to serve openly will begin in February and will move quickly, senior Pentagon leaders said Friday.

They said there is no intent to delay, but would not guarantee full implementation of the repeal this year.

The hedge on scheduling came despite assertions by President Obama in his State of the Union speech this week that the repeal of the 17-year-old ban will be finalized in 2011.

Speaking to reporters, Gen. James Cartwright said a year for completion is “a good goal,” but he added, “there’s nothing that tells us that it’s not reachable, but we have to allow for the fact that we may discover something between now and then.”

Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he expects the services will know within the first month of training how well they are doing and how quickly they can proceed.

Cartwright and Clifford Stanley, the defense undersecretary for personnel, said the military services will have a lot of latitude to determine their training process.

Both men appeared unable to describe what would be unacceptable behavior from service members, such as those who might crack jokes about sexual orientation. Instead, they said it will be up to individual unit commanders to make sure their troops are professional and respectful.

Under the law signed by the president late last month, final implementation will go into effect 60 days after the president and his senior defense advisers certify that lifting the ban won’t hurt troops’ ability to fight.