Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told graduating Air Force Academy cadets they must support a "changing" military—which the Associated Press and some media are interpreting as a coded reference to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The admiral told the cadets: "Few things are more important to an organization than people who have the moral courage to question the direction in which the organization is going—and then the strength of character to support whatever final decisions are made."
At the same time the Joint Chiefs Chairman was making this speech, the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines sent letters to Congress solicited by Sen. John McCain, reports The New York Times.
"[T]he chiefs said they wanted Congress to delay voting on the issue until after Dec. 1, when the Pentagon is to complete a review of how the military should carry out the changes. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, told Mr. McCain in his letter that “repealing the law before the completion of the review will be seen by the men and women of the Army as a reversal of our commitment to hear their views before moving forward.” Gen. James T. Conway, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said in his letter that 'I encourage the Congress to let the process the secretary of defense created to run its course.'"
After the service chiefs sent their letters in "a last-ditch effort" to torpedo the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili fired back. Shalikashvili—who pushed for DADT in the Clinton Administration and came out for repeal in 2007—sent his own letter to the Hill. According to General Shalikashvili, "It is not only preferable, but essential that [the law] be repealed in order for the Service Chiefs to retain the very authority they require to do their jobs effectively." Shalikashvili wrote a weekend Washington Post op-ed that urged "delayed implementation".
Admiral Mullen says he is "comfortable" with the proposed Levin-Lieberman Amendment. You may recall the Admiral's fantastic testimony against the military's ban on open gays and lesbians in February, if you missed it before watch AFTER THE JUMP ...