Not a Budget Item, But

Even though the topic was the Air Force budget, lawmakers at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week couldn’t refrain from straying into the debate over the “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” policy. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) pressed the service’s two top officials for their views. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said he supports repeal of the DADT legislation, as does the Obama Administration. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said, as he had before a House committee last month, that DOD needs to review potential implications to provide Congress informed recommendations. Schwartz believes there’s “inadequate current scholarship” and “insufficient current survey data” on how repeal would affect airmen and their families. Pressed further, Schwartz said he takes “a pragmatic view,” believing the services don’t yet understand what’s in “each of the four corners of this issue.”