The Army's top commanders said Tuesday the issue of repealing “don't ask, don't tell” needs more study, POLITICO reported. The 1993 policy threatens gay and lesbian service members with discharge if they do not remain celibate and closeted.

Testifying before Michigan Senator Carl Levin's Senate Armed Services Committee, General George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said he would withhold judgment on repeal until a yearlong review on the issue being called for by Defense Secretary Robert Gates is completed.

“I do have serious concerns about the impact of repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight and a half years,” Casey testified. “We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness and that's why I fully support what Secretary Gates has laid out.”

Casey's remarks are at odds with a Palm Center study released Tuesday that argues for swift repeal of the law.

“This study shows that we already have an enormous amount of information to guide this process, and suggests that another year of analysis, or a years-long implementation process, may be unnecessary,” Nathaniel Frank, the principal author of the study, told On Top Magazine Monday in an email.

The study, Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer, is the largest-ever to look at how 25 foreign militaries integrated gay troops and concludes that quick implementation is key to success.

“Swift, decisive implementation signals the support of top leadership and confidence that the process will go smoothly, while a 'phased-in' implementation can create anxiety, confusion and obstructionism,” the report says.

The Army also opposes placing a moratorium on the discharges of gay men and lesbians from the military as Gate's review takes place. Casey said placing a freeze on firings would “complicate the whole process.”

“This process is going to be difficult and complicated,” Casey said. “Anything that complicates it more, I think I would be opposed to.”

Arizona Senator John McCain, the ranking Republican on the committee and a leading opponent of repeal, agreed: “It flies in the face of what the defense secretary has committed to.”

Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwatz said Tuesday that he also backs waiting for the review before proceeding.

“This is not the time to perturb the force … without careful deliberations,” he said.