Military: Wait for DADT Review to Finish
May 26, 2010 – 5:43 PM | by: Mike Emanuel
The uniformed officers at the top of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, & Air Force have individually written letters to lawmakers on Capitol Hill expressing concerns about the impact of changing the law affecting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before a comprehensive review is complete.
“I felt that an organized and systemic approach on such an important issue was precisely the way to develop ‘best military advice’ for the Service Chiefs to offer the President,” Marine Corps Commandant James Conway wrote.
Army Chief of Staff General George Casey expressed a similar view. “I remain convinced that it is critically important to get a better understanding of where our Soldiers and Families are on this issue,” Casey wrote. “I also believe 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.”
This letter writing campaign comes after Senate and House proponents of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reached a compromise that if it passes would eventually allow gays to openly serve in the military. Defense Secretary Gates has wanted a Pentagon review of the impact of a change in policy to be finished before Congress took action. When a deal on Capitol Hill was struck, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said, “With Congress having indicated that is not possible, the Secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment.” The change is expected to be offered as an amendment to the annual defense spending blueprint known as the Defense Authorization.
Since then, the Service Chiefs have been writing to express their concerns.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead wrote, “We need this review to fully assess our force and carefully examine potential impacts of a change in the law.”
General Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, wrote that acting before the review is complete would be “presumptive and reflect an intent to act before all relevant factors are assessed, digested and understood.