Yesterday, the National Journal reported that Navy chief Adm. Gary Roughead, who had previously sent a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) registering his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, struck a more conciliatory note towards the ban after seeing a draft copy of the Pentagon’s Working Group report. “I think the survey, without question, was the most expansive survey of the American military that’s ever been undertaken,” Roughead said during an interview Saturday aboard his plane. “I think the work that has been done is extraordinary.”
This morning, at a breakfast with a group of reporters called the Defense Writers Group, Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz, who also endorsed the policy to McCain, similarly distanced himself from McCain’s claims that the report would not sufficiently inform the armed forces on the consequences of repeal. According to Stars and Stripes reporter Leo Shane, Schwartz described the Working Group review as a “good and healthy” process:
The chiefs, who have all seen draft versions of the report, are not commenting on the results of the Working Group study until it is publicly released on Tuesday, November 30th.
During a press conference, yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Chiefs were still engaged in ongoing discussions with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen about their positions, but hinted that President Obama would not necessarily need the support of the chiefs to go through with repeal.