Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chair Adm. Mike Mullen have been strong backers of a repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.' But the heads of the Army, Marines, and Air Force said Friday the repeal could cause problems and should be delayed.
The heads of the US Army, Marines, and Air Force recommended against repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay troops, at least in the short-term, in testimony on Capitol Hill Friday – clearly dissenting from the secretary of Defense and the nation’s top military officer.
The Air Force chief of staff, for instance, said repealing "don't ask, don't tell" could impact military effectiveness. He called some of the assessments endorsed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen on the subject "too optimistic."
The Army chief of staff recommended repealing "don't ask, don't tell" only after America pulled back from its current war footing.
The testimony provided Republican opponents of the repeal with plenty of ammunition. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona suggested that many more hearings on the issue might be needed before Congress makes a decision.
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