DADT Day 2 Better Than Expected

BY Kerry Eleveld

December 03 2010 2:15 PM ET

MILITARY SERVICE CHIEFS TESTIFY 1 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMThe commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, gave the most
negative assessment of repeal, noting that “45% of Marines surveyed
viewed repeal negatively” in terms of unit effectiveness, readiness, and
cohesion.

But Amos, who has been the most outspoken of the
chiefs in his opposition to repeal, added, “Should Congress change the
law, then our nation's Marine Corps will faithfully support the law.”

The
witnesses were unified on that point — that the respective branches could
indeed implement a repeal — and they all agreed that they were
comfortable with the amount of input they would have into the timing of
certification of repeal in the event Congress does vote to change the
policy. As the law is written, the secretary of Defense, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, and the president would have to sign off on repeal before
the policy is actually lifted.

Senator Levin highlighted the fact
that Defense secretary Robert Gates told the committee a day earlier that he
would not proceed with certification until the chiefs had given him the
green light.

“We heard Secretary Gates testify that ‘I would not
sign any certification until I was satisfied, with the advice of the
service chiefs, that we had in fact mitigated, if not eliminated to the
extent possible, risks to combat readiness, to unit cohesion and
effectiveness,’” Levin said.

Several senators discussed the possibility of a “phased-in” approach, as Sen. Joe Lieberman put it, to changing the policy.

“As
I read the plan, the opportunity is there to structure the
implementation phase,” Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, told the committee. “Where the opinion probably varies
is in the how — whether it’s by time, whether it’s by service, whether
it’s by unit, whether it’s by deployment cycle?”

So “it’s on the table,” affirmed Sen. Jim Webb.

But
at present, Adm. Robert Papp Jr., commandant of the Coast Guard,
worried that the leadership of the military is giving “ambiguous
signals” that is leading different military leaders to be “selectively
obedient” in enforcing the policy.

“When you allow selective obedience, that’s an insidious thing which hurts our overall military effectiveness,” Papp warned.

The
chiefs also unanimously shot down one common GOP criticism — that the
survey never directly asked service members whether they believed the
law should be repealed.

“I don’t think that we need a referendum-type question,” Amos told Republican senator James Inhofe. “I got the
information I needed,” he added.





















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