Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warns, “Troops who don’t like the repeal of DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) can find themselves a different job.
FOX NEWS– – Military members who have a problem with a change in policy to allow gays to serve openly may find themselves looking for a new job, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Thursday.
Mullen told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the military is based on meritocracy, “what you do, not who you are.” He said if Congress changes the don’t ask, don’t tell policy then the U.S. military will comply.
And if some people have a problem with that, they may not want to join the service.
“Should repeal occur, some soldiers and Marines may want separate shower facilities. Some may ask for different berthing. Some may even quit the service,” Mullen said. “We’ll deal with that.”
Mullen added that “there is no gray area” in the debate when it comes to standards of conduct in the military. “We treat each other with respect or we find another place to work. Period,” he said.
Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. Cater F. Ham, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, and Pentagon chief counsel Jeh Johnson spoke at the hearing to review the military’s recent study on overturning the 17-year ban on openly gay individuals serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
They argued that not moving quickly leaves the U.S. military to the mercy of U.S. courts that may order a repeal of the policy before the Defense Department can act on its own toward implementing an orderly transition.
“I do not underestimate the challenges in changing the law, but neither do I underestimate the willingness and capability” of U.S. forces to adapt to change, Ham said.
According to the survey, 67 percent of Marines and nearly 58 percent of Army soldiers in combat units say repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell would have negative consequences on unit cohesion in the field or at sea.
But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the biggest critics of changing current policy, noted that the study of U.S. troops found that combat forces were much more concerned about serving alongside gay members than the military population as a whole and as many as 32 percent of Marines said they would leave the service earlier than planned rather than remain alongside gay troops.
“These views should not be considered lightly, especially considering how much combat our force is facing. Additionally, I am concerned about the impact of a rush to repeal when even this survey has found that such a
significant number of our service members feel that it would negatively impact military effectiveness,” he said.
McCain added that argument that those opposed to changing the policy are just too young and immature to know what they’re saying, trivialize members’ ability to think for themselves.
Gates responded that while any loss of troops, particularly those in the field, is “potentially of concern for the force as a whole, I don’t think any of us would expect that the numbers would be anything like the survey suggests, just based on experience. Plus you have the reality that they can’t just up and leave.”
Mullen, who claimed he worked alongside gay service members through his entire career, said combat units who are most opposed to having gays serve openly in the military could lead the way in a smooth transition to a policy switch.
Saying he expects less turbulence, “even in the combat arms world,” than some would predict, Mullen added, “In fact, it may be the combat arms community that proves the most effective at managing this change, disciplined as they are. It’s not only because our young ones are more tolerant. It’s because they’ve got far more important things to worry about.”
McCain said he’s not “saying this law should never change. I am simply saying that it may be premature to make such a change at this time and in this manner, without further consideration of this report and further study of the issue by Congress.”
I guess it doesn’t matter that heads of the Marines, Air Force and Army oppose repeal of DADT, saying allowing homosexuals to serve openly could cause disruption. The Navy chief, however, sees little problem with the change and recommends repeal.
LA TIMES– – Three of the four U.S. armed service chiefs told lawmakers Friday that allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military while the force is still at war could be disruptive to combat operations.
Left to right, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr., Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp Jr.
A day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged senators to act now to change the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee asked the chiefs to give their opinions on the impact of changes on the effectiveness of the force.
The commandant of the Marine Corps said that changing the policy now, while more than 50% of Marine combat forces are heavily engaged in Afghanistan posed a “strong potential for disruption.” “My recommendation is we should not implement repeal at this time,” said Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos.
The head of the Air Force, whose pilots are actively engaged in round the clock combat missions over Afghanistan, recommended that if the law is changed, the policy not take effect until 2012 at the earliest. Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said he believed that gay service members could be integrated openly into the Air Force over time, but he described as “too optimistic” the Department of Defense report this week that the short-term risk of repeal was low.
The Army is already stretched by the effects of a decade at war, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. “I would not recommend going forward at this time given all that the Army has on its plate,” said Casey.