House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon defines today’s repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” which will allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military as rushed and risky.
“I am disappointed the President hasn’t properly addressed the concerns expressed by military service chiefs before certifying the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Their worry that the combat readiness of our force could be placed at risk, particularly those serving on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, must be taken seriously ,” said McKeon.
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who signed the certification, says the repeal will not impair the performance of the U.S. armed forces.
“I am comfortable that we have used the findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group to mitigate areas of concern and that we have developed the policy and regulations necessary for implementation — consistent with standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention,” Mullen said.
On the same day Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was sworn into office he certified the repeal.
“All men and women who serve this nation in uniform — no matter their race, color, creed, religion, or sexual orientation — do so with great dignity, bravery, and dedication… They put their lives on the line for America, and that’s what really matters,” Panetta said.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who has strongly opposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” since its inception in the early 1990s, praised the repeal.
“This decision will strengthen our military and ensure that all those who bravely serve our country are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Boxer said.
A mandatory 60-day waiting period is required following today’s certification. So, officially “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will be repealed on September 20.
“Certification does not mark the end of our work. Ready though we are, we owe it to ourselves and to the nation we defend to continue to train the remainder of the joint force, to monitor our performance as we do so, and to adjust policy where and when needed,” said Mullen.
McKeon considers today’s certification the culmination of “a flawed repeal assessment” and vows the House Armed Services Committee will continue to conduct vigorous oversight.
“I am calling on the Administration to immediately release to Congress each of the assessments performed by the services on the impact of repeal on their forces and all the regulations and policy documents that demonstrate the questions about implementation have been resolved,” McKeon said.