Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the “Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell” press briefing.
President Barack Obama has said that the results of the newly released Pentagon study on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” show that the US is ready for change.
Obama said that the report, which was released yesterday, confirms that a majority of service members – more than two thirds – are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay or lesbian.
“With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all,” he said in a statement.
“Our troops represent the virtues of selfless sacrifice and love of country that have enabled our freedoms. I am absolutely confident that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force the world has ever known.”
The report, which saw 400 000 military personnel being surveyed, was commissioned to assess the impact of the repeal of the 17 year old ban on openly gay and lesbian troops.
“This can be done, and should be done, without posing a serious risk to military readiness,” said Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates at a press conference yesterday.
He added: “The findings of their report reflect nearly ten months of research and analysis along several lines of study, and represent the most thorough and objective review ever of this difficult policy issue and its impact on the American military.”
The survey showed that 70% of service members believe that having an openly gay or lesbian colleague in their unit would have either a positive, mixed or no effect.
It also found that among those who have worked with a gay or lesbian service member (69% of those polled), 92% thought that their unit’s ability to work together was very good, good or neither good nor poor.
There remains a limited opportunity to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year in Congress as promised by Obama in January, but a number of Republicans remain committed to blocking the move.
Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” press briefing.