Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday that he was “surprised” by
General James Amos' public comments against repeal of “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual service
members from serving openly, the AP reported.
Amos, the new commandant of the U.S.
Marine Corps, told the Los Angeles Times that he was opposed
to repeal of the law that has ended the military careers of more than
13,000 gay service members.
“There's a risk involved,” Amos,
who assumed the helm two week ago from retiring General James Conway,
said. “I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is
not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”
Amos is at odds with Secretary
of Defense Robert Gates and President
Barack Obama, both of whom have urged Congress to repeal the
A Pentagon study on repeal, which
includes a controversial survey of how troops and their families feel
about the issue, is due on December 1.
Mullen said military leaders had
committed to “look at the data and then make our recommendations
“I was surprised by what he said and
surprised he said it publicly,” Mullen told reporters in Australia,
where he is attending defense and diplomatic meetings.
Amos' predecessor, General James
Conway, has also strongly objected to repeal of the law. “90 to 95
percent of the Marines” are against repeal, he told Fox News,
citing impromptu surveys he had conducted by a “show of hands” at
town hall meetings. Previously he had suggested that the Marines
would consider separate quarters for gay service members if Congress
repeals the policy, explaining that Marines don't want to bunk with
gay service members because they are “very religious.”
Opponents of the policy are urging
lawmakers to repeal the law during the upcoming lame-duck session of
Congress before new members take their seats in January. A
Republican majority in the House, and greater numbers in the Senate,
will make repeal much more difficult in the next Congress. Arizona
Senator John McCain has already pledged to filibuster any attempt at
repealing the Clinton-era policy.