Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ May Impact Army Readiness 


       The chief of staff of the Army told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness" if the law covering homosexuals and lesbians in the military was immediately repealed.

       Testifying Feb. 23, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said, his concerns were "the impact of a repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for 8 1/2 years."

      Army Secretary John McHugh and Casey said that a moratorium on discharging soldiers under the “Don’t  Ask, Don’t Tell” policy could complicate the review process.

      "This process is going to be difficult and complicated enough," Casey said. "Anything that complicates it more, I think I would be opposed."

      Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., committee  chairman, has said that he might sponsor legislation calling for a moratorium on these discharges until the Pentagon completes its review of the policy and the impact of a congressional repeal of the law covering it.

      Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ranking member, said that the moratorium “flies in the face of what the secretary of defense committed to that is, before a decision is made to change a policy, that in my view is working, that we would impose a moratorium.”

      Speaking with reporters in the Pentagon the day before, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, said he supported the Pentagon policy study. “My opinion is, everyone should be allowed to serve, as long as we’re still able to fight our wars and we’re able to have forces that are capable of doing whatever we’re asked to do.”

       Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen expressed their personal support for a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at a Senate hearing earlier this month.

Gates also appointed an Army general and the Pentagon's top lawyer to lead a review team to survey the force on the matter.

       President Barack Obama called for the repeal of the law in the State of the Union address in January.