10:03 | 23rd April 2019

News: World

Wed 3 Mar, 2010
By Danielle Carter

President Barack Obama has vowed to change the current law, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,

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Pentagon review 'don't ask, don't tell'

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The Pentagon on Tuesday said a review of plans to lift the ban on gays in the US military would look at how such a move would affect the "readiness" of the armed forces.

The review, due to be completed by December 1, will seek out the views of troops as well as military families in examining the possible impact of changing the law that bars gays from serving openly, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a memorandum posted on the department's website.

Gates unveiled the terms of the review a day before a congressional hearing with the top general and senior official appointed to lead the assessment, General Carter Ham and Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson.

Ham and Johnson are to carry out a "comprehensive review of the issues associated with a repeal of the law," Gates said in the memo.

President Barack Obama has vowed to change the current law, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which requires gay service members to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

The review of the politically-charged issue must be conducted in "a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner," said Gates.

But it remained unclear how the panel would gauge the potential impact of ending the ban on "military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion," as required by Gates.

Advocates of repealing the ban say other foreign armies, including US allies such as Britain, Canada and Israel, have not experienced any breakdown in discipline or battle readiness as a result of permitting gays to serve openly in uniform.

But opponents say the military is already under strain as it fights two wars and that large numbers of service members will quit if the change is introduced.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has strongly endorsed Obama's plan to end the ban, saying the current law "forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."

The chief of the US Marines, however, openly broke with Obama and Admiral Mullen last week in testimony to Congress.

General James Conway told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the current policy worked and any bid to lift the ban should answer the question: "do we somehow enhance the war fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?"

Source: AP


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