BY Kerry Eleveld

March 03 2010 7:25 AM ET

Levin has been aggressively exploring the possibility of imposing a moratorium on discharges while the Defense Department conducts a
yearlong study on how to implement a repeal that Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates called for during a February hearing. During testimony
last week, most of the individual service chiefs advised against a
suspension of discharges, saying it would disrupt Gates’s review
process.

Under the Lieberman bill, discharges would become
illegal and be halted on the date of enactment, or the moment the
president signs the measure. However, the bill also allows the Pentagon
approximately a year from February to perform its study, then another
60 days to issue new regulations and another 120 days for the
individual service chiefs to issue their regulations.

“On the
date of enactment, the discharges would have to stop,” said Lieberman.
“Nonetheless, the bill does embrace the study that Secretary Gates has
ordered within the department.”

The White House, which has been
talking with Lieberman since last fall about the bill, did not respond
to a request for comment on its introduction.

Although Lieberman
said the administration “unequivocally” favors overturning the policy,
he added that officials have not explicitly discussed timing or specific
strategies for repeal.

“I haven’t had the chance to talk to the
White House about the idea of putting it into the defense authorization
bill,” he said. “But in their request to ask me to take the lead on
this, they’ve been very clear that this is important to the president.”












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