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Chiefs Wary on DADT Compromise

Chiefs Wary on DADT Compromise


Four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have expressed their opposition to the compromise to end "don't ask, don't tell" proposed to members of Congress. Each of the military leaders have expressed their apprehension over rescinding the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed services.

The letters come in response to a deal that was struck Monday to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," a vote on which is expected tomorrow. That deal has the support of President Barack Obama, Defense secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen.

Navy admiral Gary Roughead, chief of Naval Operations, wrote in his Wednesday letter that he was concerned that legislative changes would undermine the Department of Defense review on ending "don't ask, don't tell." The letter, which was sent to Rep. Buck McKeon, was obtained by, as well as the three other letters.

Air Force general Norton Schwartz also wrote to McKeon, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, to reiterate his previous testimony to the committee, in which he said he opposed the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" prior to the completion of a Pentagon study.

Marine Corps general James Conway wrote to Sen. John McCain, saying that he would rather Congress allow the department to continue on the survey because "the value of surveying the thoughts of Marines and their families is that it signals to my Marines that their opinions matter."

Army general George Casey also wrote to McCain, stating that he supports the review and timeline offered by Secretary Robert Gates. He added that "repealing the law before the completion of the review will be seen by the men and women of the Army as a reversal of our commitment to hear their views before moving forward."

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