Gates: Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell Repeal Manageable

Repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military would not have significant long-term ramifications for readiness, unit cohesion, or morale, according to the report of the Defense Department’s Comprehensive Review Working Group issued Tuesday. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who directed the working group in February to study the impact of a possible repeal, said he fully supported the group’s conclusions and its recommendations. Briefing reporters in the Pentagon Tuesday, Gates urged the Senate to pass a repeal this year before federal courts are forced to intervene. The House already passed its version of a repeal earlier this year. “Those who choose not to act on this legislation are rolling the dice that this policy will not be overturned by the courts,” said Gates. He added, “The level of risk is tied intimately to the quality of preparation. If the court orders us to do this tomorrow, I believe the risk to the force would be higher. If I had plenty of time to prepare . . . it would lower the risk.” DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham led the high-level working group. (Gates prepared remarks) (Mullen prepared remarks) (Gates-Mullen transcript) (Johnson-Ham transcript) (Obama statement) (See DOD’s don’t ask, don’t tell webpage for links to working group report and support plan for implementation of repeal) (See also AFPS report by Jim Garamone and AFPS report by Karen Parrish)