Army Secretary says Gates has placed a de facto moratorium on DADT discharges.

john-mchughIn recent congressional hearings, some top U.S. military brass debated the effectiveness of a moratorium on military discharges related to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. “I would recommend against it, it would complicate the whole process … implementing while we were studying it,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said. However, Army Secretary John McHugh said today that the Department of Defense has basically implemented a de facto moratorium on discharges as the Army working group considers its review of the DADT. He said that while Defense Secretary Robert Gates hasn’t explicitly stated so, it was a “reasonable assumption” to make. He added that although several active-duty servicemembers have told him they are gay, he hasn’t taken any action:

“The secretary of the Army is probably not going to go out and initiate an action against an individual soldier who, in the conversation about how do you feel about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ identified themselves as gay,” McHugh said during a breakfast with reporters. “I just thought it would be counterproductive … in engaging the force to take disciplinary action against someone who had spoken to me openly and honestly.”

McHugh himself agreed with Casey last month during the hearings, saying that “any number of current cases would be greatly complicated” by a moratorium. Top Democrats, who support repealing DADT, have questioned whether a review of the policy would be effective if discharges were to continue. They have also signaled their willingness to draft a legislative solution should the problem remain unaddressed.

Nick McClellan