Marines, Air Force don’t endorse ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repealThese men are trying to protect the boots on the ground, I think they should be listened to.
By GORDON LUBOLD
Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Air Force chief of staff Gen. Norton Schwartz will tell a Senate panel Friday they do not recommend Congress change the law to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
“Based on what I know about the very tough fight on the ground in Afghanistan, the almost singular focus of our combat forces as they train up and deploy into theater, the necessary tightly woven culture of those combat forces that we are asking so much of at this time and finally the direct feedback from the survey, my recommendation is that we should not implement repeal at this time,” Amos said in prepared testimony for the Senate Armed Services Committee.Read it all here.
Schwartz echoed the concern. “My best military judgment does not agree with the study assessment that the short-term risk to military effectiveness is low,” Schwartz said, adding that full implementation of repeal should not occur until sometime in 2012.
The service chiefs’ concerns about “open service” are not a surprise, though their “best military advice” puts them at odds with their boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and their commander in chief, President Barack Obama, both of whom want Congress to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy this month.
But the recommendation of Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey — seen as a wild card in the contentious debate — is far more nuanced.
Casey represents a service that is wholly in the fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, where many combat forces have higher rates of concern about repeal. “Implementation of the repeal of DADT would be a major cultural and policy change in the middle of war,” he said, adding that it is also doable.
“It is my judgment that we could implement repeal with moderate risk to our military effectiveness and long-term health of the force,” Casey said.