Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen is scheduled to go before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 15 to be reconfirmed, according to a spokesperson in Sen. Carl Levin's office.
The hearing does not have a set agenda, but advocates for repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" are anticipating some senators will ask Mullen about the policy in advance of the Senate hearings on the subject this fall.
"Our hope is that the committee fleshes him out more extensively on 'don't ask, don't tell' so that when we get to the actual hearings, we can make more progress," said a person close to the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In particular, the source said matters that could be discussed include how a change in the military's gay ban would be implemented, a timeline for accomplishing that change, what kind of communications the Pentagon is having with Congress on the subject, and what progress is being made on the proposal to relax implementation of the policy even before it is repealed.
Mullen recently talked about the gay ban in a podcast for the Pentagon Channel posted on August 14, in which he was asked how the agency is preparing for the possibility of making the policy change.
"Clearly, President Obama has made his strategic intent very clear -- he wants to see this law changed," Mullen said. "I've had discussions with all the service chiefs on several occasions. I've actually also spoken with the combatant commanders, who certainly represent military leadership throughout the world at my most recent conference. I've had internal discussions on my own staff. Secretary Gates is reviewing some procedures in the current policy to see if that can be in any way changed before the law changes. So there's a lot of focus with respect to this right now, and certainly when the law changes -- we get to that point -- we'll carry out the law."