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|Service chiefs say DADT should be repealed but question timing|
|Written by Ryan Watkins|
|Friday, 03 December 2010 11:27|
The Senate Armed Services Committee held a second day of testimony on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in light of a recent Pentagon report that suggests servicemembers were mostly positive or neutral to a repeal of the policy.
The leaders of each branch of the military stated that the policy could be repealed with limited disruption to military readiness and unit cohesion.
Each of the service chiefs suggested that the military would be able to handle a repeal, though several disagreed on the timing. Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff for the Air Force, suggested deferring repeal in 2012, though he acknowledged the Air Force could handle a repeal with limited risk.
Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, felt that repeal should come during a time of peace, rather than while the Marines are deployed in combat operations in Afghanistan.
“My recommendation would be that it begins when our singular focus is no longer on combat operations,” he said.
Gen. George Casey, current Chief of Staff of the United States Army, said that the policy should be repealed but also questioned the timing.
“Leadership is the key to everything. If we do this, it will get done and it will get done well,” he said. “I believe any course of action that gives us the time to prepare is the right course of action. We have to have the time to prepare.”
All six chiefs suggested repeal through Congress would be preferable to another court ruling that would find the policy unconstitutional. A federal judge ruled in October that the policy violated freedom of speech and due process in a lawsuit brought forward by the Log Cabin Republicans. The Department of Justice is currently appealing the ruling.
Support for repeal again fell along party lines with Democrats supporting a repeal while Republicans said the current policy was largely a success and should be kept in place. Many Republicans said the policy was political in nature and questioned the need for a hearing during a time of war.
Yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mullen urged Congress to move forward with repeal during the current lame-duck session.
Top photo (from left): Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.), Carl Levin (D-Mi.) and John McCain (R-Az.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee (via flickr Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
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