Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that he would prefer that Congress delay repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 that forbids gay troops from revealing their sexuality.

Mullen made his comments after a key Senate panel and the House voted to amend next year's defense budget to include repeal language. The House on Friday approved the defense bill which included the repeal amendment.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Mullen said he believed a Pentagon implementation study due in December should be completed before repeal takes place.

“Personally, I believe the law should change,” he said. “But I also said this review is critically important. I would like the legislation to wait until we've completed the review so we can look at how to implement it.”

Before Congress took its first votes on repeal Thursday, Mullen told about 500 servicemembers at a town hall session at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado that he was comfortable with the proposed legislation, which includes a compromise that delays repeal until after the Defense Department has completed its study and President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Mullen have jointly checked off on the new policy and its implementation.

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

“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.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the defense bill in mid-summer. Republicans, led by Arizona Senator John McCain, say they'll block repeal of the gay ban, including filibustering the defense bill.