February 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Army, Air Force leaders warn against abrupt ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

Top leaders in the Army and Air Force on Tuesday expressed concerns during a congressional hearing about lifting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before the Pentagon completes its study on implementing repeal.

In a hearing on the defense budget request President Obama submitted, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey told Congress that he had reservations about repealing the ban on open service at this time.

“I do have serious concerns about the impact of a repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight and a half years,” Casey said. “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz made similar remarks to the House. He reportedly said he was concerned there is “little current scholarship on this issue” and wants to wait until Gates finishes his assessment.

“This is not the time to perturb the force that is, at the moment, stretched by demands in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere without careful deliberation,” Schwartz said.

The Pentagon study on implementing repeal, unveiled earlier this month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in congressional testimony, is expected to be complete by the year’s end.

In a statement, Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the pro-repeal Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, noted that neither Casey nor Schwartz expressed opposition to the proposal Gates advanced earlier this month.

“We expect they will work within the framework the Pentagon has laid out,” he said. “There will continue to be differences around the margins, but, at the end of the day, we expect the chiefs will salute the commander in chief, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is set next week to introduce legislation in the Senate that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” House legislation sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) was previously introduced.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • This is typical of the military. They didn’t want to allow blacks in the military either and had to have it forced on them by Presidential order. Obama really needs to issue a stop-loss order that will prevent the military from discharging gay & lesbian service members until DADT is repealed. As for waiting a year for some study, the Congress should stare in the face of these generals and tell them, nope we aren’t waiting for some useless study and give the orders for them to change the policy now. This yearlong study is just a delay tactic that hopes to stall the process of repeal until the Republicans win some more seats in the 2010 election, and as such it should be ignored.

  • “All the countries studied completed their implementations of repeal either immediately or within 4 months.” – The Palm Center, “GAYS IN FOREIGN MILITARIES 2010: A GLOBAL PRIMER”

    “Just let us keep discharging gays for another 18 months,” said the spider to the fly.

  • “Defense Secretary Robert Gates notified Congress in a letter signed Friday that the Navy intends to repeal the ban on women sailors on subs. Congress has 30 days to weigh in.”

    Nice… the Navy TOLD CONGRESS that they are “lifting the ban”.. AND that congress has a deadline of 30 days to comment. Gee, have they checked to make sure there is current “scholarly research” on such a bold move?? Women and men in such close, intimate quarters? Won’t soldiers get… “perturbed”? You mean to tell me that the Christ-ian Churches aren’t against THIS? Only against the homo’s?!

    Clearly a double standard, and our government continues to harass and intimidate us AND USE LGBT people as a political football over & over & over… F U …

  • I have a poem for congress:

    I Served Beside You

    Remember when you reported to the induction center,
    I sat beside you.
    When the doctor said “bend over,”
    I bent beside you.
    When you drew your uniforms,
    I drew mine beside you.
    When you took your shower in an 8-head open shower room,
    I was at the next shower head beside you.
    When you went to the rifle/grenade ranges,
    I was in a prone position beside you.
    When you were teamed up on bivouac for two-man tents,
    and were told to sleep head to toe,
    You were “6” and I was “9”.
    When you went to Nam (or other wars),
    I sat beside you.
    When you talked about girlfriend(s) or wives,
    I listened.
    When you went to war again,
    I was beside you.
    Wherever you served in the world
    I served proudly and with dignity beside you.
    When you stood in formation to receive the Bronze Star,
    I got mine beside you.
    When you got your second Good Conduct Medal,
    I got my third.
    When you were laid to rest at Arlington,
    I was laid next to you.
    When you wondered what our differences were,
    You didn’t ask then – I didn’t tell.
    But you are straight and I am not.
    You didn’t care then – why care now?
    Written by A Gay former senior NCO

    For years White men, women, and Black soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines were forced to live in segregated barracks – now they are all live in harmony in the same building, only separated by “gender”. All of those years have had Gays and Lesbians living, sleeping, showering and eating right beside everyone else. No one asked then – why now? Gays and Lesbians have served in the militaries for centuries. Gays and Lesbians have served proudly, honorably, at all ranks, highly decorated, some were/are actually war heroes. Some of those Gays and Lesbians were and still are more professional than their straight counterparts. Why stop now? Another problem people are worried about is harassment and fraternization; that has been going on, again for centuries, with straight people being the primary perpetrators. How many of those straight people were kicked out for heterosexual harassment of heterosexual’s?

    As Adm. Mullen testified that he has served with people he knew were gay – and served proudly with them, as they were some times better soldiers than straight soldiers were. With the dignified, decorated, and proud prior service of millions of Gay and Lesbians, who needs a “review” or “study” of allowing “American” people to serve openly in the military. You don’t question every military person if they are straight do you? My vote is cut the crap, save the money and time from the “review,” totally destroy the ban and concentrate on ending the wars – not who is fighting and dying in them! This is the year 2010, NOT 1810 or 1910. What are you waiting for?

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