Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that he supports repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that forbids gay troops from serving openly.

Speaking to about 500 servicemembers at a town hall session at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Mullen said he's comfortable with proposed repeal legislation, the American Forces Press Service reported.

Mullen earlier had urged Congressional leaders to delay repeal until after the Pentagon completes an implementation study due in December.

On Monday, Democratic leaders and the White House agreed on a compromise that delays repeal until after the president and Pentagon leaders have checked off on its implementation.

“The language in there right now preserves my prerogative – and I believe, my responsibility – to give the best military advice,” he said.

“That trigger is to certify whether we should move ahead with that change, even if the law were to repeal it,” he told reporters following the session.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that lobbies for repeal, thanked Mullen for his backing.

“Repeal is moving forward with the support of the Pentagon and we welcome the comments by JCS Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen,” Sarvis said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has also endorsed the compromise.

Both houses of Congress are expected to take up key votes on the issue Thursday or Friday.