Dyess Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Chief of staff addresses 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' report
 
Photos
Previous ImageNext Image
HASC Hearing on Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee Dec. 3, 2010, in Washington, D.C. General Schwartz, his fellow service chiefs and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified on the recently released Comprehensive Review Working Group report, which addresses the potential repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
Download HiRes
Chief of staff addresses 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' report

Posted 12/6/2010   Updated 12/6/2010 Email story   Print story

    

12/6/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS)  -- Allowing time to adequately prepare servicemembers prior to implementing a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law is vital to continued mission effectiveness, the Air Force chief of staff told members of Congress here Dec. 3.

Gen. Norton Schwartz, his fellow service chiefs and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Comprehensive Review Working Group report, which addresses the potential repeal of the 1993 law that forecloses gay men and women from serving openly in the military.

"It is my assessment that the U.S. Air Force can accommodate a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' with modest risk to military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting, and retention of our Airmen," General Schwartz said.

However, the general expressed concern about U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan and the potential disruption a repeal could cause units performing combat missions there.

"It is difficult for me as a member of the Joint Chiefs to recommend placing any additional discretionary demands on our leadership cadres in Afghanistan at this particular time," the general said.

General Schwartz told the committee members that he recommends deferring full implementation of any repeal of the law until 2012, to allow the Department of Defense to begin education and training efforts to better prepare the force.

The senior leaders' comments followed those of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who met with reporters Nov. 30 to discuss the release of the Comprehensive Review Working Group report.

"I believe that it would be unwise to push ahead with full implementation of repeal before more can be done to prepare the force -- in particular, those in ground combat specialties and units -- for what could be a disruptive and disorienting change," Secretary Gates said.

The secretary said the working group's plan, which has a strong emphasis on education, training and leader development, provides a solid road map for a successful full implementation of the repeal, assuming the military is given sufficient time to prepare the force.

Early in 2010, the secretary of Defense directed a working group to complete a comprehensive review of the potential repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. As part of the review, DOD officials fielded two large surveys to gather feedback from both servicemembers and their families.

"The DOD study confirms that Air Force attitudes run roughly 70/30 toward those who see positive, mixed or no effect with respect to allowing open service by gay, lesbian and bi-sexual Airmen," General Schwartz said.

Additionally, the study recognized a number complicating factors, to include cohabitation, privacy and "universal" benefits, the general said.

"Each of these complicating factors will require focused attention and, in time, will be accommodated satisfactorily," General Schwartz said.

The general also echoed Secretary Gates' preference for legislative action on the repeal, rather than allowing the courts to decide the matter, in which case the military "would enjoy much less latitude to properly calibrate implementation" of the change.

"The Air Force will pursue implementation of repeal, if the law changes, thoroughly, professionally and with conviction," General Schwartz said.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Dyess AFB

ima cornerSearch


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act