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Los Angeles Times: “’Don’t Ask’ Should Stay for Now, New Marine Commandant Says”

Dec 13, 2010
Defense Drumbeat
Top Armed Services Committee Republican Calls Move to Repeal Law in Post-Election Congressional Session “Unwise”

Washington, D.C. (November 8, 2010)—According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Marine Corps’ top officer, speaking in San Diego over the weekend, told reporters that “now is not the time to lift the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban.”  The warning by General James Amos arrives as proponents of repealing the law are exploring options to undo the law before Republicans take control of Congress in January.

General Amos, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, told reporters that while U.S. troops, including 20,000 Marines are “locked in a ‘tough fight’ in Afghanistan,” he is concerned about “a possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness if the ban is overturned.”

General Amos further stated, “’There's risk involved…I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.’”

In an interview with Reuters, U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, said it would be “’unwise’” for Congress to attempt to overturn the law in its post-election session.  McKeon reiterated that the Pentagon has a system in place to gather feedback from U.S. military personnel and their families and that he “’would like to see that before any effort is made to push this thing through.’”

Further, McKeon stated, “’I think that something as disruptive as that could potentially be in the military, and figuring all of these people that have lost their elections that would be making that kind of a decision, I just think that's not a wise.’”

Considering the limited time to consider substantive issues in December after the Secretary of Defense releases the military’s report on the implications of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” McKeon pointed to a detailed list of questions he submitted to Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen in January 2010 that have gone unresolved to date.

Excerpts from Mr. McKeon’s January 20th letter follow:

“Ultimately, one responsibility of this committee is to ensure that legislation enacted improves the readiness of the Armed Forces.  No action to change the law should be taken by the Administration or by this Congress until we have a full and complete understanding of the reasons why the current law threatens or undermines readiness in any significant way, whether a change in law will improve readiness in measurable ways, and what the implications for and effects on military readiness, cohesion, morale, good order and discipline are entailed with a change in law… 

“…Moreover, our military leaders have the responsibility for due diligence before any change as significant as the repeal of section 654 can be made; and must present the Congress with the evidence, in depth, of that due diligence (studies, surveys, access to witnesses of all ranks), so that Congress can judge: 1) whether retaining the current law is advisable from a readiness standpoint; and 2)  the ramifications and potential impact any change may have on the readiness of our military and family members.  Without the evidence of the Department of Defense’s due diligence and without providing Congress the opportunity to hear from a broad spectrum of currently serving members of all ranks, the issue cannot be decided objectively.”

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Washington, D.C. (November 8, 2010)—According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Marine Corps’ top officer, speaking in San Diego over the weekend, told reporters that “now is not the time to lift the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban.”  The warning by General James Amos arrives as proponents of repealing the law are exploring options to undo the law before Republicans take control of Congress in January.

Washington, D.C. (November 8, 2010)—According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Marine Corps’ top officer, speaking in San Diego over the weekend, told reporters that “now is not the time to lift the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban.”  The warning by General James Amos arrives as proponents of repealing the law are exploring options to undo the law before Republicans take control of Congress in January.

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