Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have praised the findings of a Pentagon report on how to repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 17-year-old law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

In prepared remarks included with Tuesday's release of the report, the men urged lawmakers to repeal the policy which has ended the military careers of over 13,000 service members.

The report's conclusions – that a majority of troops are OK with repeal and that the majority of opposition would likely come from the Marines Corps – were leaked to the media weeks ago. The real question is whether the report's endorsement of repeal will change the minds of Senate Republicans, who, along with 2 Democrats, united in September to block repeal of the law.

“The findings of their report reflect nearly ten months of research and analysis along several lines of study, and represent the most thorough and objective review ever of this difficult policy issue and its impact on the American military,” Gates wrote.

“The findings suggest that for large segments of the military repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' though potentially disruptive in the short term, would not be the wrenching, traumatic change that many have feared and predicted.”

Mullen added that he “fully endorses” the report's findings, saying that “for the first time the Chiefs and I have more than just anecdotal evidence and hearsay to inform the advice we give our civilian leaders.”

A Senate panel will hold hearings this week on the report's findings before a repeal measure moves to the Senate floor for a vote.