It's time to review the military's ban on open gay service, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell said on Sunday.

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Powell said that American attitudes have changed regarding gay men and lesbians serving in the military.

“The policy and the law that came about in 1993, I think, was correct for the time,” Powell said.

“Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country, and therefore I think this is a policy and a law that should be reviewed,” he added.

The military gay ban, known as “don't ask, don't tell,” prescribes discharge as the remedy for service members who do not remain closeted or celibate. The Obama administration is facing increasingly louder demands from gay groups to end the law that candidate Obama promised to repeal. According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that lobbies for repeal of the law, 282 service members have been discharged under Obama's watch.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon is looking into ways to apply the law in a “more humane way.” Gates appeared to suggest he disagreed with discharges in cases where service members were maliciously outed.

“If someone is outed by a third party … does that force us to take action?” he asked.

Current Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen has said that the Pentagon has no plans to deviate from current law.

“The president has made his strategic intent very clear, that it's his intent at some point in time to ask Congress to change the law,” Mullen said in a May appearance on ABC's This Week. “I think it's important to also know that this is the law, this isn't a policy. And for the rules to change, a law has to be changed.”

But he also appeared supportive of repeal. When asked, “So it sounds like if the Congress calls you up to testify in this, you're going to say now is not the time for repeal?” Mullen answered,”No, I actually – I'm going to talk to the process that we have in this country, which is we follow the law, and if the law changes, we'll comply. There's absolutely no question about that.”