Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, citing a Pentagon report released Tuesday, said there is a “low risk” to ending the ban only if the Defense Department can roll out changes gradually and keep the process under their control.
Court rulings this fall – which temporarily suspended the law and led to bureaucratic chaos at the Pentagon and recruiting stations – alarmed defense and military officials, who said they were caught by surprise.
“I think that woke a lot of people up,” Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in an interview Wednesday. Cartwright, the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and the commandants of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard will testify before the Armed Services Committee on Friday.
“Given the opportunity to choose on how and if the law is repealed, I’d rather have the legislature do it than the judicial side,” Cartwright said. A federal court decision forcing an immediate end to the policy would put gays currently serving in uniform in an awkward position, he said.