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dcagenda.com • vol. 2, issue 7 • february 12, 2010
Moderate senators back Pentagon’s ‘Don’t Ask’ review
Some appear readyto endorse moratoriumon expelling gayservice members
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@dcagenda.com
Some moderate members of theSenate Armed Services Committeeare getting behind the Pentagon’sreview of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” withoutexplicitly expressing support for repeal.DC Agenda asked several sena-tors of the committee for theirthoughts on last week’s hearing onthe law prohibiting gays from servingopenly in the U.S. military — andtheir positions on overturning it.During the hearing, DefenseSecretary Robert Gates unveiledplans for a Pentagon study thatwould examine implementation ofrepeal should Congress decide tooverturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”Gates said he supports PresidentObama’s efforts at working to repealthe law and Chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullensaid he personally believes gaysshould be allowed to serve openly inthe U.S. military.Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska)said, “the thing that stood out” duringthe hearing was how top militaryleaders “are looking at this issue.”“Obviously, Mullen said that it needsto be changed, or at least movedthrough, so I thought that was a veryinteresting statement by military com-mand,” Begich said. “That’s what I’ll belooking to, to see what their policywould be and what they intend to do.”Asked about his position on “Don’tAsk, Don’t Tell,” Begich said he’swaiting for the Senate hearings to fin-ish and the Pentagon to complete itsinvestigation.“I think having the military step upto the plate and acknowledging thatit’s a policy of the past and that theyare now moving forward and recom-mending — or potentially looking at itis probably a good move,” Begichsaid. “But I’m leaving it to the militaryto help us guide us through.”Also expressing support for thereview was Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said the law needs to bere-examined in light of the changesthat have occurred since “Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell” was implemented in 1993.“I support the review that theadministration has underway in theDepartment of Defense,” she said. “Ithink ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ does needto be reconsidered in light of all thechanges of the last 17 years, and I wasimpressed with the testimony fromAdm. Mullen.”Collins recalled that Mullen saidduring the hearing that other NATOcountries that have lifted similar banshad encountered no problems relatedto combat readiness or unit cohesion.“That was useful information to
Marriage opponents lose latest round at election board hearing.
Tegan and Sara
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A Food & Friends volunteer delivers a meal this week as the Washington area coped with record-breaking back-to-back stormsthat dumped more than three feet of snow on the region. John Berry, the gay head of OPM, closed the federal governmentMonday through Wednesday at an estimated cost of $100 million per day.
More photos page 16.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
Several moderate senators favor plans by Defense Secretary
tostudy how best to implement repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key