“I believe the time has come to consider a change to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” General David Petraeus told the Armed Services Committee today, in his most direct public comments about the policy. “I think it should be done in a thoughtful and deliberative matter that should include the conduct of the review that Secretary Gates has directed that would consider the views in the force on the change of policy”:
PETRAEUS: It would include an assessment of the likely effects on recruiting, retention, moral and cohesion and would include an identification of what policies might be needed in the event of a change and recommend those polices as well.
In the last few weeks Petraeus refused to explicitly give his personal opinion about whether Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) should be repealed and had admitted to serving with two gay CIA officers whose orientation did not undermine their performance or mission. During this testimony today, Petraeus speculated that the new study could show either positive or negative effects of allowing openly gay or lesbian soldiers to serve openly.
This week, the Pentagon’s Office of the General Counsel is also expected to release the results of its 45-day review of how Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could be implemented in a fairer manner. Repeal advocates are unsure of what the group will propose but “have issued recommendations for changing the application of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” under the current statute.” “Among these changes are mandating evidence when a possible violation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” comes from a fellow service member and not a civilian; eliminating anonymous tips as the basis for the start of an inquiry; and requiring that alleged homosexual conduct on which any discharge is based occurs after a service member joined the armed forces.”