Military Leaders: Go Slow on Lifting Gay Ban

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, right, and Army Secretary John McHugh, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, before the the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, right, and Army Secretary John McHugh, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, before the the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

In something of a reversal of recent statements, the senior leadership of the Army and Air Force warned Congress about moving too fast to end the ban on gays serving openly.

Top Army and Air Force officers said Tuesday they would be reluctant to overturn a 17-year policy that prohibits gays from serving openly in the military without more time to ascertain it won’t hurt the services.

“I do have serious concerns about the impact of a repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight and a half years,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey told Congress. “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.”  As Casey cautioned the Senate Armed Services Committee against moving too fast to repeal the law, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz made similar remarks before the House.

The carefully crafted comments indicate reluctance among the military’s senior ranks to act anytime soon on President Barack Obama’s plan to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.  Obama says the policy is wrongheaded and should change. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees but wants to move slowly, and has ordered a lengthy assessment on how to lift the ban without affecting troops and their families.

Officials expect the study to be complete by the end of the year, but that it could be several more years before the repeal is fully implemented.

Gates, JCS Chairman Mike Mullen, and CENTCOM chief David Petraeus have all recently said that lifting the ban could be accomplished without much problem.  But today’s statements aren’t terribly surprising: This is a major cultural change and the military is a conservative institution.

The change is coming; the question is whether to implement it immediately or over the course of a few years.  The latter is the default position.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    They need to stall indefinitely. I have a feeling that some of the gays have gotten to these military folks and that they likely have been brainwashed.

    The liberals and these rogue generals don’t really care about what this going to do to our country: it will make us a weak, laughing-stock of the world.

    If you start letting the gays into the army, inevitably they will start to rise through the ranks and we could conceivably have a gay general.

    The next thing you know, we will start having troops trained in flower arranging and wedding planning instead of combat.

    The gay Army band will substitute John Philip Sousa marches with the Village People and Madonna.

    Army and Navy will shut down their football teams and replace them with figure skating and curling.

    The evilones will get us for sure since the gay army will be too busy blow drying their hair, doing interior design makeovers of the barracks, and chasing little boys and Larry Craig to defend us.

    This also sets us down a slippery slope. If you let the gays in, you will next be having animals wanting to join and soldiers wanting to marry animals on the base.

    It is simply a scourge.

  2. RM says:

    Isn’t Petraeus CENTCOM commander, not SACEUR?

    Yes – fixed! There were rumors that Petraeus would get EUCOM but he instead stayed in theater and got CENTCOM. EUCOM went to former SOUTHCOM boss Stavridis, the first admiral in that spot. -jj

  3. Gustopher says:

    How would one get rid of the ban slowly?

    Would gays be able to serve in the Coast Guard? Bisexuals in the Reserves? Would only some platoons allow gays? Would they only enforce don’t ask don’t tell against soldiers with even social security numbers?

  4. anjin-san says:

    The time to end discrimination is always now.

  5. Mithras says:

    Never is always some people’s default position.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    The gray hair says it all. It’s just old dudes living in their own pasts.

  7. Highlander says:

    Instead of Green Berets, it’ll be Pink Berets. This is the thin end of the wedge in a movement which will eventually lead to the deterioration and debasement of the Legions.

    The military is the remaining government institutional structure with integrity.History will show the acceptance of the openly homosexual as the beginning of a long decline.

    Eventually we’ll end up as spineless and weak as the Europeans. And then the barbarians will come through the gates.”Ce La Vie”.

  8. anjin-san says:

    Poor Highlander. Scratch a homophobe and you almost always find latency underneath. Right now there are gay men putting their lives on the line in uniform for his freedom and he insults them. Very sad.

  9. sam says:

    His French ain’t too bon, either.

  10. Mike says:

    How exactly do you “study” this problem? Seems like an easy fix – pass a new law and issue a new reg which stops chaptering out homosexuals.

  11. tom p says:

    I can’t help wondering exactly what Harry said to the Generals when they asked him to, “Go slow on integrating…”

  12. just me says:

    I am not really sure what needs to be taken so slowly here. I think there are really just two considerations-making sure the UCMJ is edited to reflect that homosexuals can serve and to make sure they are covered by fraternization type laws that cover when, where and who military members can have sexual relationships with.

  13. Bill H says:

    “…make sure they are covered by fraternization type laws that cover when, where and who military members can have sexual relationships with.”

    They have that covered. Fraternization regs are in place, and they make no mention of gender.

    As to “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.” The British found that the effect was zero, as did the Australians. They just gave the order and the troops said, “Oh, okay, no big deal.”

  14. Highlander says:

    Anjin-San

    Homophobe? I would hope not, gays are deserving of respect as anyone else, until they prove otherwise.

    I suspect the difference between you and me is, that I spent 10 years on active duty in the military in several war zones, and I have commanded a rifle platoon.

    So just possibly,I might have just a tiny bit more understanding of the dynamics in play on this issue, than you do based on your bleeding heart liberalism.

  15. anjin-san says:

    Homophobe? I would hope not, gays are deserving of respect as anyone else

    Well, you are not giving it to them.

    Instead of Green Berets, it’ll be Pink Berets

    History will show the acceptance of the openly homosexual as the beginning of a long decline.

    Eventually we’ll end up as spineless and weak

    Your service is admirable, but it does not get you off the hook for your clearly bigoted remarks. And if you think the concept of “equal justice under the law” somehow represents a “bleeding heart”, I can only pity you.

  16. Highlander says:

    Anjin-San

    Like the battle field, my remarks represent the cold hard and harsh facts of the reality of warfare, and I didn’t ask for forgiveness for them.

    I am sorry,I called you a “bleeding heart” liberal. You are merely misguided.

    But if I were you,I wouldn’t dispair. The nation is trending decidedly in the Gay direction.

    Are you Japanese?

  17. An Interested Party says:

    But if I were you,I wouldn’t dispair [sic]. The nation is trending decidedly in the Gay direction.

    Awwww…so I guess that last bit gives you reason to “dispair”…

  18. Highlander says:

    Interested Party,

    Well the historic record of survivability for cultures which begin to accept homosexuality as just a matter of life style choice, is not good.

    But guys like me will be dead as hell soon. And then you can have open season on the “choir boys”.

    But you will have the problem of the “Pink Berets” inability to keep the Muslim hordes from stoning you to death for the sin of lusting after men. Life is full of dilemmas, isn’t it?

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    Highlander:

    I believe Colin Powell also served in action in Vietnam. And then rose to the highest rank. And he has no problem with gays serving openly.

    It’s not about you being a soldier. It’s about you being an idiot.

  20. Highlander says:

    You are an oh so emotional person Michael, are you a homosexual?

    As for Colin Powell, he has played the political game in Washington for a long,long time. And we all know what that will potentially do to a man’s integrity.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    But you will have the problem of the “Pink Berets” inability to keep the Muslim hordes from stoning you to death for the sin of lusting after men.

    I’ll take my chances in the real world rather than the narrow-minded, bigoted one you inhabit…by the way, are you a closet case? That would explain much…

  22. Highlander says:

    No my friend, I am an old school fornicator of women of all sizes,shapes,and nationalities.

    But I bet,if you dug around in Dick Cheney’s psyche you might hit some pay dirt. And I would bet dollars to donuts,that Karl Rove is shall we say a “little light in his loafers”. Both of them while they are whispering sweet nothings into the ears of Christian Conservatives.

  23. anjin-san says:

    I am an old school fornicator of women of all sizes,shapes,and nationalities.

    Ah, so. You just troll for women who like small minded bigots. Sorry Highlander you still sound just a tad latent. I would certainly explain the fear and anger.

  24. Highlander says:

    Good lord people. The only retorts you can come up with is some hysterical loop rendition of:”oh you’re the evil bigot,and you must be latent”.

    You people can’t even argue like men, much less defend the nation.

    Sorry Anjin-San, You probably just want to be a man. But after all if you are Japanese,you are in the strangest tribe on the face of the entire planet.

    “Oh My God! He just insulted the entire nation of Japan! So unspeakably and horribly bigoted!” And in her heart of hearts Anjin-san knows I speak truth.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    By the way, Highlander, I noticed that you mentioned “choir boys” as I think you’ve done in the past…is there some direct connection between homosexuality and pedophilia that you would care to make…

  26. anjin-san says:

    The only retorts you can come up

    Actually, no. Its just that those are the only retorts you merit. We will save the well reasoned, the thoughtful and the clever for those who can actually follow that sort of thing.

    I think its time to leave you to your ramblings about what a manly man you are. Hell, if you repeat it often enough, you may eventually believe it…