At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, testimony by the military's four service chiefs left Chairman Buck McKeon reeling.

Last year, Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that ends the policy that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly, known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” But the policy won't end until sixty days after top Pentagon leaders and the president certify that the military is ready for the change.

House leaders sidestepped the House Armed Services Committee, which was considered hostile to the effort, in their first attempt to repeal the Clinton-era law, advancing a repeal amendment on the floor of the House. A corresponding committee in the Senate, however, fully vetted the amendment.

McKeon, a Republican, said the process left him “troubled.”

“As a result of the rush to judgment that bypassed this committee, Congress was denied the opportunity to ask questions and identify weaknesses in the repeal implementation plan,” McKeon said in his opening remarks Thursday. “Now, we are confronted by an implementation process that is moving quickly to completion of the education and training phase.”

He went on to describe the four service chiefs as opponents of repeal, a clear indication that he fully expected the four men's testimony to support his own publicly aired opposition.

“Our primary interest today is to ensure that the senior leaders of each service have the opportunity to communicate their current views about implementation of repeal,” McKeon said. “Several of the service chiefs have expressed reservations about the timing and potential impacts of repeal during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee and we want to understand if our military leaders remain concerned about the prospect of full repeal of the law.”

“The one outcome that must be avoided is any course of action that would put the combat readiness of our military forces at risk.”

The service chiefs, however, proved to be uncooperative witnesses, testifying that they had yet to run into any major problems.

Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos, an outspoken opponent of repeal last year, acknowledged that “there hasn't been the recalcitrant push back, there hasn't been the anxiety over it from the forces in the field.”

“And I'm looking specifically for issues coming out of the tier II and tier III training and to be honest with you, chairman, we've not seen it,” Amos testified.

The nation's top Marine Corps officer previously said he could not endorse repeal of the law because the distraction might endanger the lives of Marines in combat.

The other three service chiefs also testified that training was going well.

“Our training is going very well,” Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said. “In those areas that we detected may be at moderate risk – the expeditionary forces – it is not at the level we had originally forecast.”

“The types of questions we are getting reflect the maturity, professionalism and decency of our people,” he added. (A video montage of the hearing compiled by the blog Wonk Room is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

The hearing appeared to soften McKeon, who said: “My concern was more the procedure of how it was all laid out. But that's past and now we're moving forward.”