Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has
rejected Arizona Senator John McCain's suggestion to put repeal of
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” up for a vote, The Hill reported.
McCain, the highest-ranking Republican
on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has
dismissed an upcoming Pentagon report on how to implement repeal,
saying that he wanted the Pentagon to study “the effects on morale
and battle effectiveness” on troops if the ban on gays serving
openly is lifted. He also said he wanted the opinions of the service
chiefs, who mostly oppose repeal of the Clinton-era law, to weigh
“I do not believe that military
policy decisions – on this or any other subject – should be made
through a referendum on Servicemembers,” Gates wrote to McCain in a
letter dated October 25 but only recently made public.
According to unnamed Washington Post
sources, the report will show that a large majority (more than 70
percent) of troops are okay serving alongside openly gay troops.
Gates said he sought out the opinions
of members of the military to better “understand how a change in
DADT policy may impact unit cohesion, military readiness and
effectiveness, recruiting and retention, and family readiness.”
“This will ensure that we can
properly advise the President and the Congress on the impacts of a
repeal and develop an implementation plan that appropriately
addresses any such impacts,” Gates wrote.
days' worth of hearings on the report are scheduled to begin in the
Senate next week. In an apparent nod to McCain, Committee
Chairman Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, is also seeking the
advice of the four service chiefs touted by McCain.