As the Senate prepares to vote on cloture for the Defense Authorization Bill, Senators from both sides of the aisle used Gen. James Amos’ confirmation hearings to become the Marine Corps’ 35th Commandant, to pepper Amos about repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Amos admitted that he personally opposes repealing DADT, but stressed that the Pentagon’s review of the policy would inform the military about how best to implement a repeal and allow the Marines Corp to change the policy “smartly.”
During one particularly heated exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Amos rebuffed the GOP’s argument that those who disagree with repeal would be silenced or chased out of the service:
SESSIONS: I want to know if you think it’s appropriate leadership position of the military if this policy is adopted to not allow people to have different views and for them to get out of the military.
AMOS: If you step away from the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell there are lots of things that go on today in the American military that the average Marine out there might not agree with. But the one thing we have in the Marine Corp is we got discipline and we got leadership and those are the two things that are I think the one thing that’s going to carry they day for us should the law get changed. But there has never been a gag order, and I don’t anticipate one being put on the Marines. …I don’t see that that would be an issue….We have plenty of marines out there when marines disagree, and they disagree vocally.
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Amos also countered Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) argument that the Pentagon’s study won’t tell military leaders if repeal would undermine military effectiveness, insisting that “at the end of the day, when all of this information comes to whoever is the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps in December….will be able to give his best military advise on that.”
“If this policy is changed. The last thing you’re going to see your Marine Corps do is try to step in and push it aside. That will simply not be the case,” Amos said. “There will be issues, we’re going to work through them.”