In testimony before the Senate today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before the end of the year, and warned against “rolling the dice,” and allowing the courts to repeal it first via “judicial fiat”. A judicial repeal, Gates said, would be
“confusing and distracting” and “hazardous to military morale.”
Gates said today the review found that more than two thirds of troops do not object to serving alongside gay men and women. He said that although repeal is “potentially disruptive in the short term,” it is not the “wrenching, traumatic change” that some had predicted.
“This is a policy change that we can make,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen said, adding that that is his professional as well as his personal opinion.
But Gates did concede that the unit cohesion of certain elite combat units might face a greater “negative effect” from repeal. Indeed, worries about repeal were highest in deployed combat units: 48 percent of soldiers and 58 percent of Marines in combat units admitted they feared the change would affect their readiness.