BY Kerry Eleveld
February 03 2010 12:30 PM ET
Gen. Colin L. Powell changed course Wednesday and threw his support behind the strategy of the military's top leadership to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell, who helped craft the policy in 1993 when he chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement issued by his office. “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen,” he added.
Powell began saying last year that he believed times had changed since the early '90s and that the policy warranted a serious review, but Wednesday’s statement is the first time he has endorsed efforts to end the policy entirely.
Powell's full statement follows:
"In the almost seventeen years since the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. The principal issue has always been the effectiveness of the Armed Forces and order and discipline in the ranks. I strongly believe that this is a judgment to be made by the current military leadership and the Commander in Chief. It is also a judgment Congress must make. For the past two years, I have expressed the view that it was time for the law to be reviewed by Congress. I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I will be closely following future hearings, the views of the Service Chiefs and the implementation work being done by the Department of Defense."
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Retired), 3 Feb 2010