Top Military Officer: Repeal DADT
In response to the statement by President Obama during his State of The Union address the Senate Armed Services committee is holding a hearing on repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy (live on CSpan 3 right now).
In his opening statement Defense Secretary Gates expressed support for the repeal and indicated he is implementing a study to determine how to proceed with the repeal. He named DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson and General Carter Ham, Commander of US Army Europe to chair this review. This long term review could take up to a year.
However he also is asking for the counsel’s office to review current law and report within 45 days on what changes can be made within the current law.
In his statement Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen expressed similar desires for a careful review to make sure that the new policy is implemented in the best possible manner. He pointed out that given the current duties of the military as well as the many other things they are dealing with that it is important to take time to make sure any changes are made carefully.
He also stressed the need to be thoughtful, to remember that there are good points on both sides and that it is wrong to assume only your view is the correct one .
But he also something I think few expected, which should be of interest to many.
“Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens
For me personally it comes down to integrity, theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. I also believe that the great young men and women accomodate such a change. I never underestimate their ability to adapt.”