The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff supports the repeal of the military’s ban on gays but he doesn’t think Congress should be in a rush to vote on it.
Admiral Mike Mullen was critical Sunday of the House’s vote last week to dismantle the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
“Ideally, I would have certainly have preferred that legislation not be brought forward in terms of the change until we are completed with that review,” Mullen told CNN’s Candy Crowley.
The House last week passed an amendment repealing “don’t ask,” a policy enacted during the Clinton administration that sees gay service members discharged if their sexual orientation becomes known to their superiors. The Senate Armed Services Committee has also approved a repeal of the law, but the full Senate isn’t expected to take up the issue for months.
The House amendment stipulates that the repeal won’t take effect until a Pentagon review of the policy is completed by year’s end. It also gives the president, the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs chairman the power to “certify” that the policy can be repealed.
“That certification is key in terms of when … we would be ready to implement it and whether in our judgment how much the change is going to affect the things are on the top of the list for me including readiness, unit cohesion and recruiting retention,” Mulled explained.
“So, all that is very much still in play in ways it makes this review and collecting the information and understanding what’s going on at the deck plate level from our troops and in our families that much more critical,” he said.
This video is from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast May 30, 2010.