Gates and Mullen: Repeal DADT



Defense secretary Robert Gates, chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen, and the cochairs of the Pentagon’s working group study delivered a uniformed opinion at a Senate hearing Thursday that “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be repealed before the end of the year.

Admiral Mullen told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that his personal opinion that repeal was “the right thing to do” was now his professional opinion after reviewing the Pentagon’s comprehensive study.

“Back in February, when I testified to this sentiment, I also said that I believed the men and women of the Armed Forces could accommodate such a change. But I did not know it for a fact,” Mullen said. “Now I do.”

Secretary Gates added what has become a familiar refrain from him: “I believe this has become a matter of some urgency because, as we have seen this past year, the judicial branch is becoming involved in this issue and it is only a matter of a time before the federal courts are drawn once more into the fray.”

Later in the hearing Gates added that a court imposed end to the policy would give the military “zero time to prepare” and called that scenario “a very high risk to the force.”

Gen. Carter Ham, a cochair of the study group, followed Gates’s lead when he was asked whether he personally believed the law should be repealed by Sen. John McCain, the ranking minority member on the committee and a key detractor of repeal.

General Ham, who has expressed reservations in the past about ending the policy, said that he was personally “very concerned about the timing of the courts.”

In light of that, Ham told McCain, “Yes sir, I think it is time to change.”

Committee chair Sen. Carl Levin asked Ham, who currently commands the Army’s forces in Europe, whether he believed he could implement repeal if the Senate were to overturn the policy.

“Mr. Chairman, I’m confident that I can,” Ham responded.

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