Pentagon Isn’t Urging Congress To Take Up Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal In Lame Duck Session

Pentagon Spokesperson Geoff Morrell reiterated the importance of the department’s working group review of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell during a briefing yesterday, but stopped short of calling on Congress to move quickly towards ending the ban. In discussing priorities for the lame duck session of Congress, Morrell said that “we are clearly urging Congressional action, echoing the President on [ratifying the] START treaty,” but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen “want a study to take place in advance of that repeal to educate us how to deal” with repeal:

MORRELL: The Secretary’s report is due on his desk by December the 1. The Working group, as I understand it, is very much on track to to meet that deadline. So I think in 26-days time the Secretary will have the work product that he thinks is so necessary for us to be able to fully understand the full implications of a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and then what additional measures we need to take in preparation of that eventuality.

You know from his discussion of this dating back to last February that [the Secretary] believes that it’s better to do this smart than stupid and that this report is very important to us doing this smartly. So, our focus right now is getting this report finished, getting it to the Secretary, having him review it carefully consider it and take measures from there….Once the Secretary gets it, I’m sure it will be a priority item for him to review and consider and then provide leadership for this department on how to move out based on what the report tells us.

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Morrell did say that the Department would like the Senate to pass the whole of the defense authorization bill during the lame duck, but would not say if that should include DADT repeal. “We clearly want our appropriations, we clearly want our authorizations, how they construct those, I’m not going to tell them how to do their business,” he added.

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, the administration has also not publicly lobbied the Senate to to pass the DADT resolution during the lame duck session, failing to list it as a priority.