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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  February 3, 2010 7:30am-9:00am EST

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interests of the labour party ahead of the needs? >> mr. speaker, i just have to say to him, that the evidence is that in his region there are 122 new hospitals and 37,000 more staff. we have doubled expenditure on the national health service so that everyone in our country will benefit. and we are giving personal guarantees to every citizen of this country that will receive cancer treatment within two weeks, that they will be in a position to get an operation within 18 weeks, that they will get regular checkups and at the same time they will be able to see a doctor on weekends or in the evening. the party that is resisting giving rise to every citizen is the conservative party. >> mr. brian jenkins be back thank you, mr. speaker. my right honorable friend is only too aware we have regrettably too many war widows to whom this country owes a great deal. with the promise that any
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administration he runs to stop any suggestion to make these people, these are a people worse off by the tax system for not being married to? >> there should be no -- there should be no discrimination against the windows, no discrimination against those who have been abandoned by their partners. and that is why we have a system of individual taxation and we have special allowances for widows. i would hesitate to say that the proposal for a married couples or married allowed would be there to was or people that have been abandoned by their partners. >> thank you, mr. speaker. last year the noble lord mandelson launched a 1 billion pounds strategic investment fund. it was designed to help industries right across the country. the prime minister struggled with 50,000 pounds earlier but let me tie him with this particular number. why is that 90 percent of that fund doesn't help industry across the country? 90% is then given to labor
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constituencies. >> mr. speaker, the purpose of all our measures in the recession is to help industry and business out of recession. 300,000 businesses have been held in all constituencies of the country. the only difference between us is they oppose all our measures and we took action to get us out of recession. and we are taking the action to keep us out of recession while the conservatives don't have a clue what the we do in 2010. >> does the prime minister welcomed the proposals for licensing and planning concerning houses in multiple occupation that were announced last week? we urge the authorities such as in southampton to make or use of the pounds of milk and? >> i know my auto friend has taken this issue up on many occasions that i know it is an important issue we are dealing with cities where there is multiple occupation. i can assure him we will be
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urging councils like councils in his area to take up these proposals with a speed. >> order. statements.
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>> next a senate armed services hearing on the militaries don't ask, don't tell policy on gays and lesbians in the military. defense secretary robert gates and joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen i appeared before the committee tuesday. to talk about their support for
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allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military and have the military would move forward. if congress repealed the don't ask, don't tell policy. this is an hour and a half. >> the committee is not going to receive testimony from our senior leadership of the department of defense as we begin the task of addressing the don't ask, don't tell policy on gays in the military. i believe that ending the policy would improve our militaries capability and reflect our commitment to equal opportunity. i do not find the arguments that
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were used to justify don't ask, don't tell convincing when it took effect in 1993, and less so now. i agree with what president obama said in his state of union address that we should repeal this discriminatory policy. in the latest gallup poll, the american public overwhelmingly supports a allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. 69 percent of americans are recorded as supporting their rights to serve, and many in fact are serving. as former chairman of the joint chiefs general john shalikashvili said he supports in the policy. a majority of troops already believe that they serve alongside gay or lesbian colleagues. one recent study estimated that 66,000 gays and lesbians are serving today at constant risk of losing their chance to serve. other nations have allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve in the militaries without
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discrimination and without impact on unit cohesion and morale. and comprehensive study on this was conducted by rand in 1993. rand researchers reported on the positive expenses of canada, france, germany, israel, and the netherlands and norway, all of which allowed known homosexuals to serve in their armed forces. senator mccain and i have asked the department of defense to update the 1993 report. and in this discriminatory policy will contribute to our militaries effectiveness, to take just one example, dozens of arabic and farsi linguist have been forced out of the military under don't ask, don't tell at a time when our need to understand those linkages has never been greater. thousands of troops, 13,000 by one estimate, have been forced to leave the military under the current policy. that number includes many who could help the military complete
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some particularly difficult and dangerous missions. i have long admired the merit based system of advancement employed by the u.s. military. it allows servicemen and women of varied backgrounds to advance to positions of high leadership. and army is not a democracy. it is a maritime city. where success depends on not who you are, but on how well you do your job. despite its necessary undemocratic nature, our military has helped lead the way in areas of fairness and antidiscrimination. it has served as a flagship for american values and aspirations, both inside the united states and around the world. we will hold additional hearings to hear from various points of view, and approaches on this matter. this committee will hold a hearing on february 11, and will
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hear from independent panel. the service secretaries and service chiefs will all be testifying before this committee during the month of february on their various budgets, and they of course will be open to questions on this subject as well during their testimony. michael will be to move quickly but deliberately to maximize the opportunity for all americans, to serve their country. while addressing any concerns that may be raised. we should and don't ask, don't tell, and we can't and should do it in a way that honors our nation's values while making us more secure. my entire statement will be made part of the record. a statement of senator gillibrand will also be inserted into the record following the statement of senator mccain. senator mccain? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank secretary gates and admiral knows what is turning into a very long boring for them. we appreciate your patience and your input on this very, very important issue.
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we need to consider the don't ask, don't tell policy that the president has made clear, most recently last week in his state of the union address that he wants congress to repeal. this would be a substantial and controversial change to our policy that has been successful for two decades. it would also present yet another challenge to our military at a time of already tremendous stress and strain. our men and women in uniform are fighting two wars, guarding the front lines against a global terrorist enemy, serving and sacrificing a battlefield far from home, and working to rebuild and reform after more than eight years and conflict. at this moment, immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the don't ask, don't tell policy. i want to make one thing perfectly clear up front. i am enormously proud and thankful for every american who
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chooses to put on the uniform of our nation and serve at this time of war. i want to encourage more of our fellow citizens to serve, and open up opportunities to do so. many gay and lesbian americans are serving admirably in our armed forces. even giving their lives so that we and others can know the blessings of peace that i honor their sacrifice, and i honor them. our challenge is how to continue welcoming this service amid the vast complexities of the largest, most expensive, most well-regarded and most critical institution in our nation, our armed forces. this is an extremely difficult issue. and the senate vigorously debated it in 1993. we heard from the senior uniformed and civilian leaders of our military on eight occasions before this committee a loan. when congress ultimately wrote the law we included important findings that do justice to the seriousness of the subject.
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i would ask without objection, mr. chairman, that a copy of the statute including those fighting be included in the record. >> it will be. >> i won't quote all those findings, but three points must be made. first, congress found in the law of the military's mission to prepare for and conduct combat operations required servicemen and women to accept living and working conditions that are often spartan and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy. second, the law finds that civilian life is fundamentally different from military life, which is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions. including many restrictions on personal conduct that would not be tolerated in civil society. finally, the law finds that the essence of military capability is in good order and unit cohesion, and that any practice which puts those goals in
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unacceptable risk can be restricted. these findings were the foundation of don't ask, don't tell. and i am eager to hear from our distinguished witnesses what has changed since these findings were written. such that the law they supported can now be revealed. has this policy been ideal? no, it has not. but it has been effective. and has helped to balance a potentially disruptive tension between the desires of a minority and the broader interests of our all ballinger force. it is well understood and predominantly supported by our fighting men and women. it reflects is, as i understand them, the preferences of our uniformed services. it is sustained unit cohesion engine or out, while still a lying gay and lesbian americans to serve in military uniform. and it has done all of this for nearly two decades. mr. chairman, this is a letter signed by over 1000 former
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general and flag officers who have weighed in on this issue. i think that we all and congress should pay attention and benefit from the experience and knowledge of over 1000 former general officers and flag officers, where they say we firmly believe that this law which congress passed to protect good order, discipline and morale in a unique and private of the armed forces deserve continued support. and so, i think we should also pay attention to those who have served who can speak more frankly on many occasions that who are presently serving. i know that any decision congress makes about the future of this law will inevitably leave a lot of people angry and unfulfilled. there are patriotic and well-meaning americans on each side of this debate.
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and i've heard their many passionate concerns. ultimately though, numerous military leaders tell me that don't ask, don't tell is working and that we should not change it now. i agree. i would welcome a report done by the joint chiefs of staff. based solely on military readiness, effectiveness and needs and not on politics. that would study the don't ask, don't tell policy that would consider the impact of its repeal on our armed services, and that would offer their best military advice on the right course of action. we have an all ballinger force. it is better trained, more effective, and more professional than any military in our history, and today that force is shouldering a greater global burden and at any time in decades. we owe our lives to our fighting men and women and we should be exceedingly cautious, humble and sympathetic when attempting to
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regulate their affairs. don't ask, don't tell has been an imperfect but effective policy. and at this moment, when we are asking more of our military men at any time been in recent memory, we should not repeal this law. thank you, mr. chairman. >> secretary gates? >> mr. chairman, last week during the state of the union address, the president announced he will work with congress this year to repeal the law known as don't ask, don't tell. he subsequently directed the department of defense to begin the preparations necessary for a repeal of the current law and policy. i fully support the president's decision. the question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare it, for it. we received our orders from the commander-in-chief, and we are out accordingly. however, we can also take this prospect only so far as the
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ultimate decision rests with you, the congress. i am mindful of the fact, as are you, that unlike the last time this issue was considered by the congress, more than 15 years ago, our militaries engaged in two wars that have put troops and their families under considerable stress and strain. i am mindful as well that attitudes towards homosexuality may have changed considerably, both in society generally and in the military, over the intervening years. to ensure that the department is prepared, should the law be changed, and working in close consultation with admiral mullen, i have appointed a high level working group within the department that will immediately begin a review of the issues associated with properly implementing a repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy. the mandate of this working group is to thoroughly of jack dooley and methodically examine all aspects of this question, and produce its funny and
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recommendations in the form of an implementation plan by the end of this calendar year. a guiding principle of our efforts will be to minimize disruption and polarization within the ranks, with special attention paid, special attention paid to those serving on the frontlines. i am confident this can be achieved. the working group will examine a number of lines of study, all of which will proceed simultaneously. first, the working group will reach out to the force to authoritatively understand their views and attitudes about the impact of repeal. i expect that the same sharp divisions that characterize the debate over these issues outside of the military will quickly say to find their way into the process, particularly as it pertains to what are the true views and attitudes of our troops and their families. i am determined to carry out this process in a way that establishes objective and reliable information on this
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question, with minimal influence by the policy or political debate. it is essential that we accomplish this in order to have the best possible analysis and information to guide the policy choices before the department and the congress. second, the working group will undertake a thorough examination of all changes to the department regulations and policies that may have to be made. these include potential revisions to policies on benefits, base housing, fraternization and misconduct, separations and discharges, and many others. we will enter this examination with no preconceived views, but a recognition that this will represent a fundamental change in personnel policy. wanted that will require that we provide our commanders with the guidance and tools necessary to accomplish this transition successfully and with minimum disruption to the department's critical missions. third, the working group will examine the potential impacts of
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a change in the law on military effectiveness, including how a change might affect unit cohesion, recruiting and retention, and other issues crucial to the performance of the force your the working group will develop ways to mitigate and manage any negative impacts. these are, generally speaking, the broad areas we've identified for study under this review. we will, of course, continue to refine and expand these as we get into this process or engage in discussion with the congress and other sources. in this regard, we expect the working group will reach out to outside experts with a wide array of perspectives and experience. to that end, the department will, as requested by this committee, asked the rand corporation to update their study from 1993 on the impact of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military. we also have received some helpful suggestions on how this outside review might be expanded to cover a wide swath of issues.
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this will be a process that we be open to views and recommendations from a wide array of sources, including, of course, members of congress. mr. chairman, i expect our approach may cause some to wonder why we take the better part of year to accomplish a task that we are looked at a variety of options, but when you take into account the over riding imperative that gets this right, and minimize disruption to a force that is actively fighting two wars and working through the stress of almost a decade of combat, then it is clear to us we must proceed in a manner that allows to the thorough examination of all issues. and a port for this process is to engage our men and women in uniform and their families over this period. since after all, they will ultimately determine whether or not we make this transition successfully. to ensure that this process is able to accomplish its important mission, chairman thibault and i
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have determined that we need to appoint the highest level officials to carry it out. accordingly, i am in the department of defense general counsel, j. johnson, and general carter hand, commander of u.s. army europe to serve as the cochairs for this effort. simultaneous, with launching this process, i have also directed the department to quickly review the regulations used to implement the current don't ask, don't tell law. and within 45 days, present to me recommended changes to those regulations that within existing law, will enforce this policy in a fair manner. you may recall that i asked the department's general counsel to conduct a preliminary review of this matter last year. based on their preliminary view, we believe that we have a degree of latitude within the existing law to change out into the procedures and the man does more appropriate and fair to our men and women in uniform. we will now conduct the final detailed assessment of this proposal before proceeding.
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mr. chairman, senator mccain, members of the committee, the department of defense understands that this is a very difficult and in the minds of some, controversial policy question. i am determined that we in the department carry out this process professionally, thoroughly, dispassionately, and in a manner that is responsive to the direction of the president, and to the needs of the congress as you debate and consider this matter. however, on behalf of the men and women in uniform and their families, i also ask you to work with us insofar as possible, keep them out of the political dimension of this issue. i am not asking for you not to do your jobs fully and with vigor. not rather, that as this debate unfolds, you keep the impact that this will have on our forces firmly in line. thank you for this opportunity to lay out our thinking on this important policy question.
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we look forward to working with the congress and hearing your ideas for the best way ahead. >> thank you. admiral mullen? >> thank you, mr. chairman, senator mccain and thank you for giving the opportunity to discuss with you this very important matter. the chiefs and i am in complete support of the approach that secretary gates has outlined. we believe that any implementation plan for a policy permitting gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces must be carefully derived, sufficiently through -- sufficiently thorough and thoughtfully executed. over the last two months, we have reviewed the fundamental premises behind don't ask, don't tell as was its application and practice over the last 16 years. we understand perfectly the president's desire to see the law repealed. and we owe him our best military advice about the impact of such a repeal and the manner in which we would implement a change in policy.
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the chiefs and i have not yet developed that advice. and would like to have the time to do so in the same thoughtful, deliberate fashion with which the president has made it clear he wants to proceed. the review groups and secretary gates has ordered will no doubt give us that time and an even deeper level of understanding. we look forward to cooperating with and participating in this review to the maximum extent possible and we applaud this selection of mr. johnson and general hand to lead it. both are men of great integrity, great experience and have our complete trust and conference. mr. chairman, speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to
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lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. for me, personally, it comes down to integrity. there is is individuals, and ours as an institution. i also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change. i never underestimate their ability to adapt. but i do not know this for a fact, nor do i know for a fact how we would best make such a major policy change in a time of two wars. that there will be some disruption in the force, i cannot deny. that there will be legal, social and perhaps even infrastructure changes to be made certainly seem plausible. we would all like to have a better handle on these types of concerns, and this is what our review will offer. we would also do well to remember that this is not an
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issue or the military leadership to decide. the american people have spoken on this subject through you, there is a good officials, and the result is the law and the policy that we currently have. we will continue to obey that law and we will obey whatever legislative and executive decisions come out of this debate. the american people may yet have a different view. you may have a different view. i think that's important, and it's important to have that discussion. frankly, there are those on both sides of this debate is because if there is no debate. as if there is nothing to be learned or reflected upon. i hope we can be more thoughtful than that. i expect that we will be more thoughtful than that. the chiefs and i also recognize that the stress, our troops and families are under, and i have said many times before, should
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the law change we need to move forward in a manner that does not add to that stress. we've got two wars going on, a new strategy in afghanistan, and remaining security challenges in iraq. we are about to move forward under a new quadrennial defense review. we still have budget concerns and a struggling economy. and we have a host of other significant security commitments around the globe. our plate is very full. while i believe this is an important issue, i also believe we need to be mindful as we move forward of other pressing needs in our military. what our young men and women and their families want, what they deserve, is that we listen to them and act in their best interests. what the citizens we defend want to know, what they deserve to know, is that their uniform leadership will act in a way that absolutely does not place
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in peril the readiness and effectiveness of their military. i can say that i am 100% committed to that. ballads, mr. chairman, is what we need most right now. it's what the president has promised us and it's what we ask of you in this body. thank you. >> thank you very much, admiral. we are working several has a chance at a reasonable period of time, will have just a three-minute first round. >> mr. chairman, we need more than three minutes. >> we will have a second round. we also have to have a schedule here, so we'll go to a second round if we can fit it in. if not we will pick this up at a later time. the secretary -- the schedule wasn't sure what with everybody here now. >> not with me. >> it was indeed shared.
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mr. secretary, the "washington post," i think this board, reported that the military services will not pursue any longer disciplinary action against gays and lesbians servicemembers whose orientation is revealed by third parties. is that one of -- is that one of the degrees of latitude in existing law you're looking at? las. .
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what constitutes credible information to initiate an inquiry. we can raise the bar on what constitutes a reliable person on whose word an inquiry can be initiated. overall we can reduce the instances in which a service member who is trying to serve the country honorably is outed by a third person with a motive to harm a service member. and we also have to devise new rules and procedures in light of the
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would you support a moratorium on discharges under don't ask don't tell during the course of this assessment the department is going to be making? >> i would have to look into that. the problem that we have is all of the issues we describe in terms of looking to and the effect on the force. >> would you add this to the questions -- that doesn't mean you couldn't discharge at the end of the period but there could be a moratorium. >> we will look at that.
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>> would you support a change in the current law to permit that. >> i was around in 1993 and was engaged in the debate. we looked at the issue and the effect on the military and reached a conclusion and enacted the threat into law. the question before us is not whether -- i could be far more appropriate to determine whether repeal of this what is appropriate and what effect it would have on the effectiveness of the military. before deciding whether we
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should repeal the law or not and fortunately it is an act of congress. obviously your statement is biased. admiral mullin, you are the principal military adviser to the president. do you have to consult with other members of the joint chiefs of staff and combat commanders and what is your opinion of the other two members about changing this policy? >> they will obviously be called. we will defer to them. >> i would like you to ask them and we can have it on record. >> i have worked closely with
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them over the last months in terms of understanding what their concerns and what our overall concerns are and i will summarize them to understand that if this policy changes, how we would implement it and -- to understand objectively the impact on the troops and our forces. >> i absolutely agree -- >> what kind of partnerships or unions would the military be prepared to recognize by law in the event this don't ask don't
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tell is repealed? >> that is one of the many issues we have to look at. >> you are embarking on saying it is not whether the military prepares to make the change but how to prepare for it without hearing from members of congress, without hearing from members of the joint chiefs and without taking into consideration all the ramifications of this law. am happy to say we still have a congress of the united states that would have to pass the law to repeal don't ask don't tell despite their efforts to repeal it in many respects. >> thank you for holding this important hearing. i want to acknowledge secretary
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give its. you put a plan in place and the centerpiece of your statement will long be remembered for the courage and integrity with which you outline your personal beliefs. i am proud to hail from a region of the country, rocky mountain west where we have a live and let live attitude. some would call it libertarianism. people's personal lives, choices people make are not the government's business. i can't help but think about -- i grew up in arizona. my mother was from colorado. barry goldwater once said you don't have to be straight to shoot straight. that is the opportunity we have here today. the congress and the pentagon moved forward. i have a few concerns to share in the couple minutes that i have and i will cover my comments and questions and
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hopefully there will be time for you to respond. there were a lot of studies done. there's a recent study in the joint force quarterly. it is not clear to me that the study group needs a full year to study implementation and transition. i want to put that out there. i want to ensure the folks that the group's goal is to implement policy, and ask you to assure me the end point of the study would be a road map to implementing repeal and the congress would be in a position to take legislative action that the pentagon as a whole could support. i would like your reaction to a legislative proposal to repeal legislation say you need one year while legislating at the end of that time we would have a complete end to don't ask don't tell. during the yearlong transition there would be full discretion
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with respect to don't ask don't tell investigations and discharges. language like this would make me much more comfortable since we want a clear path to full repeal and i'm not sure i see finality in the study. hopefully there is a little time for your answer. >> the purpose of the examination we are undertaking is to inform decisionmaking of the congress and the nature of whatever legislation takes place. it is also to be prepared to implement any change in the law. we recognize this is up to congress and it is critical. it is by a vote of congress. this is intended to prepare us along those lines so we
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understand the implications but there has not been a study done by the military, this is the kind of thing mike mullen was talking about. if legislation is passed, we will feel -- for the implementation for at least a year. >> all the studies and all the polls, on urge everyone involved in this -- they will emphasize what the secretary said. there really hasn't been significant -- since this -- significant objectives survey of our people and their families.
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that gets to the chief's concern and mine as well which is engaging them in a way that we understand their views on this and that hasn't been done as urgently -- it is going to take time to do that. >> senator sessions? >> this is an important issue. we need to think it through. every american is entitled to justice as we deliberate these issues and we should not do it at high-level. i would note a bit of a concern that arises from something senator mccain suggested and that is that the president as commander-in-chief has announced the decision and the secretary of defense apparently supports the decision. admiral mike mullen has declared i believe in this decision and
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so presumably someone below you will do some work on the policy of whether this is a good policy or not. if there is a trial we will perhaps raise the command influence and i think we need an open, objective and fair evaluation of this. high would note that they are not accurate at least in my view or misrepresent certain things. one of them is 10,000 people have been dismissed from the military or voluntarily left for the military under this provision. but that is ten years. 1%, maybe if it was one year, 0.75%, but over at decade, 1/10%
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of this. i know test -- i give the military credit. a lot of people don't know this, how open the debate and discussion -- there is an article in the joint forces quarterly that basically supports this change. it was an award winning article and they raise a lot of issues both for and against and the military welcomed of that. i it salute that. that is healthy. one of the points that was made is one of the original authors of don't ask don't tell policy points out that the number of discharges for a voluntary statement price service members as they come forward and say they are homosexual accounts for 80% of the total and the number
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of discharges for homosexual acts have declined over the years. is that correct? >> it is approximately correct but it does go to a fundamental principle with me which is everybody counts and part of the struggle to the institutional integrity aspect of this -- and putting individuals in a position that every single day they wonder whether today is going to be the date and devaluing them in that regard is inconsistent with us as an institution. i have served with homosexuals since 1968. senator mccain spoke to that in his statement. everybody in the military as and we understand that. a number of things which cumulatively for me personally get me to this position but i
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want to emphasize what i said, i am not all knowing in terms of the impact that the change would have. it is absolutely critical. >> every single service members in uniform will qualify for that. i don't think they are required to line up who they are. that is an overstatement. the rule of don't ask don't tell seemed to work pretty well. i would note that the mantra here is the chief of services met with chairman mike mullen. the consensus was the military
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fighting two wars and responding to a new mission in haiti, now is not the time to make such a big change to military policy. that is my understanding of the status of things. i just hope as we discussed it you will recognize that congress has made the decision and will not have to change it if we do change it and use your power to in any way influence the discussion or evaluation of the issue. >> we can't possibly evaluate the impact on unit cohesion, morales and retention on recruitment and so on if -- unless we encourage people to tell us exactly what they think and exactly what their views are honestly and as forthrightly as possible. otherwise there is no use in doing this at all.
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i can't emphasize enough, we understand from the beginning of this that this must be an act of congress. >> this is not about command influence. this is about leadership. i take that very seriously. >> thank you. >> secretary gates, i applaud your efforts in commissioning a thorough evaluation of the don't ask don't tell policy and how to implement a repeal of the policy in order to minimize disruption in military readiness. i was wondering, how will you study -- how will this study take into account the views of commanders to minimize disruption in the military? >> the service chiefs will all have a part in this. the one thing i have asked is
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that as we go through this process we try to not to disrupt or impact the deployed forces public -- particularly those in afghanistan and iraq. they have enough on their minds and we can get the answers we need to the questions that need to be asked by not adding to their burden. the one limitation i put on this which obviously does not apply to the commanders is that we try to have as little impact on the deployed forces as possible. >> mr. secretary and admiral mike mullen, as we end discriminatory practices in our armed forces is there any reason to believe the dedication and professionalism of our leaders in uniform is based in any way on their sexual orientation and moral fitness of our men and
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women in uniform should be based on their sexual orientation and if not then, on what grounds do you believe there remains a need to discriminate based on a service member's sexual orientation? >> i personally don't think sexual orientation has a place for these decisions. there is a gap between that which i value as the foul you of integrity and what our policy is. it is really in the review that would take place over the course of the next -- by the end of this year that i would look to certainly understand it much more fully and understand the impact if and when the policy changes the impact on our people and rather than at the end of
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this to some degree we are at the beginning of trying to understand that. that is in light of many opinions on this including the opinions of those who retired. all those things. it really is what i need to understand, to get it from our people and their families and incorporating that in addition to the other requirements that will be the goal of the review over the next -- better part of this year. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i too m disappointed with this decision by the administration. but i will say this for our witnesses. they understand the chain of command. we understand elections have consequences and these two gentlemen see their charge as
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moving forward with the directives of their commander. secretary gates said it explicitly in his statement, quote, we have received orders from the commander-in-chief and we are moving out accordingly. we will have a debate about this and we will appreciate the information the department gathers for us. senator mccain referenced in his statement more than a thousand retired officers upwards of 1160 required flag and general officers from all the armed services who have come out against a change in this policy. for my colleagues, urging continual support. flag and general officers for
8:22 am, on would commend to members of this committee and op-ed written by carl mundy jr. former commandant of the marine corps who points out -- mentions strong support for the current policy by this overwhelming majority and points out certain findings in support of the 1990 la to in form clarity by the current statute. the primary forces of the armed forces is to prevail in combat, not to promote civil rights or social justice or fairness but
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to prepare for and prevail in combat. further findings include success in military units that are characterized by high and more all and unit cohesion and further, one of the most critical units is unit cohesion with bonds of trust among individual service members. i would ask, mr. chairman, that this op-ed dated january 12th, 2010, in the record -- i appreciate the situation we find ourselves and and we hope the policy --
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>> senator web? >> this is an emotional issue and legislative issue, doing both statements, this year period that you will take to examine the issues will be followed by clear observations about the implications of changing the law. you are not coming in today to say we are going to change the law and put this into figuring out how to implement the change? >> the information that we would develop during the course of this review would help inform the legislative process. >> i salute both of view for careful statements for the courage of what you said but also emphasized you balanced that in your statement. what we are looking for here is
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an examination of the present law. is the most damaging aspect of the present policy? you made a powerful statement in terms of the integrity of the individual as you're deciding factor. what is the great volume of this law if we were to do away with it and move on to something else and what are the parallels? where are we going? are we going in the proper direction? we can't say that today. when you say that this is something that will ultimately be decided by the congress i would also like to emphasize my own agreement with what we have been saying about how important it is to hear from people who were served because whether the ultimate decision might be with congress, that decision can't be made in the proper way without a
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full and open input from all of those -- not just combatants but family members and people in the operating units. the way that i am hearing this, which i would agree with is we have a duty in a proper way to understand the impact of this on operating units to raise the level of understanding the complexity of this issue among the american people and up here. as well as attempting to deal fairly with this issue. i salute you both for a very responsible and careful approach to how we examine this. >> thank you very much. senator chambers? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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just as was stated by my friend senator udall the live and let live policy has not been the best policy to adhere to and this is what we have in place. in the military we have a don't ask, don't tell. you are in a tough spot and we understand that. this is an extremely sensitive issue. everybody on this committee is very sensitive to the issue both inside and outside the military. in the military, it presents some apparently different problems than it does in civilian life because there's no constitutional right to serve in our armed forces. we have gay and lesbian soldiers serving. they served in the past and they're going to serve in the future and they are going to serve in a very valiant way but the primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and prevail in combat should the need arise. military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that military society is characterized by its own laws,
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rules, customs and traditions including restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society. examples include alcohol use, adultery, feminization and body art. if we change this rule of don't ask don't tell what do we do with these other issues? the armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces high standards of moral, order and discipline and unit cohesion. presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards of moral, discipline and effective unit cohesion and effectiveness and propose for this change and i look forward to a very spirited
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debate on this issue, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator chambliss. i believe senator burris is next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to extend my deep admiration for our two distinguished leaders in their position and not only are you following the direction of the commander-in-chief but admiral mollen, your personal view is to be commended. what we need is a policy that allows any individual who has the integrity and commitment to serve this country to serve this country. go back to president truman, who took the audacity to integrate the services. at one time members of my race couldn't even serve in the military and we moved to this
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point, aware that the best and brightest that we had, generals and the commander-in-chief. what we are doing here now is not looking at the integrity and commitment at individuals make not based on their sexual orientation but the defense of this country. the policy needs to be changed and must be changed and we must have everyone who is willing and able to volunteer to defend this country, defend this great american tradition of ours has the opportunity to surf regardless of their sexual orientation and based on that, we must continue to have an american spirit and have individuals willing to serve. i don't have a question, just a statement. i hope we look at legislation, 185 members on this house bill
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which with house bill 1283, i hope and pray that we will get it and moving on this issue it will not be wasting the taxpayers' time or energy on something that is so basic to human rights and opportunities for individuals in this country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator, >> mr. chairman, unlike what colleagues have some questions rather than just a statement. admiral mike mullen, lien know that many of our nato allies allow gays and lesbians to serve openly and many of these countries have deployed troops who are serving with us in afghanistan. are you aware of any impact on
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combat effectiveness by the decision of our nato allies to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly? >> i have talked to several of my counterparts in countries whose military's allow gays and lesbians to serve openly and there has been -- as they have told me -- no impact on military effectiveness. >> we heard today the concerns that if don't ask don't tell is repealed, that it would impact unit cohesiveness or morale. are you aware of any studies, any evidence that suggests that repealing don't ask don't tell would undermine unit cohesion? >> i am not. the 1993 rand study focused
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heavily on unit cohesion and that became the principal point put forward by the military leadership at the time and i understand that. i understand what it is and what goes into it. and there has been no thorough or comprehensive work done with respect to that aspect since 1993 and that is part of what needs to be addressed as we move forward this year. >> we need to address a number of assertions that had been made for which we have no basis in fact. >> the purpose of the review we are undertaking is to find out what the men and women in our
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armed forces and their families really think about this and the fact is at this point we don't really know. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator collins, senator lieberman is next and then assuming nobody else comes in senator macassar skill will be next and senator reid and senator lieberman. >> i proposed the don't ask don't tell policy when it was created by this committee in 1993 and i remain opposed to it today. i support repealing it as soon as possible. my feeling stated simply then was what mattered most was not house member of the military lived his or her private sexual life but that they were prepared to risk their lives in defense of our country.
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my judgment was in a combat situation a member of the military in a tank is going to care a lot more about the capability and courage of the soldier next to him than they are about the sexual orientation of that soldier, just as a over the years they carry lot less about the race of the soldier next to them than about his or her courage or capability. therefore, i am grateful president supports the repeal of don't ask don't tell. i thank you for saying that the question now is not whether but how -- for us, when we will repeal don't ask don't tell. what you are telling us today is we are going to do as soon as
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possible after 45 days is to determine how you can reduce the impact of the don't ask don't tell policy within the current state of the law. is that correct. >> the numbers have gone down fairly substantially. they were 600 some in 2008, 428 in 2009. we don't know, we can't quantify the possible changes i talked about here or what impact they would have. but at least, if we are able to do something like that, would make these folks less vulnerable to somebody seeking revenge or whatever their motives in terms of trying to wreck somebody's
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career. >> am i correct to ask the question of your judgment by counsel, it requires an act of congress repealing don't ask don't tell for the actual policy itself to be ended in the military? you can't do it by executive action. >> that is correct. >> i am sure one of the reactions to what you announced today will be that this is a delay. i want you to consider not only the 45 day limit but providing regular reports to congress for the public on the progress of this study that you are doing this next year. >> i don't see why we can't do that. >> the final obviously is that it is in the congress and senate, we have got to get 60 votes to repeal don't ask don't tell or it will remain in
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effect. thank you. >> unless there is a provision in the defense authorization bill, it goes to the floor which will then require an amendment to strike it from the bill in which case the 60 vote rule would be turning the other way. >> it is with great appreciation that i accept the higher wisdom of the chairman. that is a great way to go. >> that is on the record. thank you. senator macassar skill is next. >> i want to make sure we are crystal clear about number of things. are gay and lesbian americans currently serving in the military? >> yes. >> the foundation of the current policy is we welcome their service. >> correct.
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>> i you aware of any moral issues or disciplinary problems surrounding the current service of gay and lesbian members -- americans as members of the military. >> certainly not problems. >> what you are embarking upon is important. it is welcome. here is my problem. we have established we have gay and lesbian americans serving in the military. they are not causing any kind of disciplinary or morale problems, we welcome their service. the issue is not whether or not gay and lesbian americans are serving in the military, it is whether or not we talk about it. how are we going to get their input in this survey? >> my take on that is -- hang on
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a second. i think that we would have to look very carefully at how we would do that. >> that is the point i would like to leave you with today. unfortunately because of this policy, we welcome their service. they are serving bravely and well. we don't have any kind of issues with morale and cohesiveness surrounding their service but when it comes time to evaluate their service they are not allowed to talk about it and so you have a challenge in getting the most important input you may need as you consider this policy. i will be anxiously awaiting how you figure that out. thank you, mr. chairman. >> to talk to those who have been separated. >> the ones who have been separated would be a great place to put good information but i don't know if you would get at
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those currently serving because obviously they will not step forward to talk about it. i agree that is a great place. many of them voluntarily separated because of issues in the integrity. >> senator reid? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow up on the point that it is my understanding canada and the united kingdom have allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly since the 90s in great britain, since the early 2000s. they're fighting side by side with us today in afghanistan. what i would like to see more of, does that suggest there combat effectiveness -- we have
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had the opportunity to work with them in joint operations? does that add credibility to what you are undertaking? >> it is clearly something we need to address. we need to talk to those countries's military's in formal and in-depth way about their experience. their experience is a factor but i also would say that each country has its own culture and its own society and has to be evaluated in those terms as well. >> one of the aspects in your prepared remarks is the presumptive difference in terms of the attitude, differing ranks within the military. is that something you can
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comment upon now? have you done a search for the attitudes based on age or other factors? >> that really goes to the point of what we need to do in the months ahead. i think admiral mullen would agree that we don't know. we don't have information based on rank or anything like that. >> anecdotally, what would be my only comment, there hasn't been an objective review of this. it will be too soon to comment because anecdotally, there are young people, senior officers on both sides of this issue, it gets to this strongly held view driving it as opposed to understanding objectively what
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this policy change would mean. >> let me ask a final question which is implicit in your overall testimony and that is -- this is rather simplistic, but there will be a decision and there will be implementation of that decision. i would assume at least in part those have to be coordinated or referenced so that part of this discussion analysis going forward is not only a decision but also about how this policy will be implemented in a very detailed fashion and that would be something that would be available to the congress before they made the decision. can you comment on that aspect? >> one of the things we will look at is if there is a problem
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with cohesion how would you mitigate it? how through training regulations or other measures, if the congress were to repeal the law, how would we implement it just as use a? part of our review process as we look at different aspects of it, what are the problem areas we are going to see and how do we address those? everything from base housing to various policies and regulations and so on. all of those have to be addressed. >> understanding the impact, it has been in that understanding that speaks in great part to potential implementation and that goes to the core of where i am on this which is leadership. understanding that, they are
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integral to each other. implementation then says to me, here is how you lead this. this is what you need to do to move for it if the law changes. >> thank you. briefly falling up senator reid and senator collins's point about other militaries. the point that our military is fighting side-by-side and with military's who do not have a discriminatory policy, have you noticed any impact on our troops to serve with canadians or brits because of british or canadian policy that allows gays to openly serve? >> since these wars started in 2003 it has not been brought to my attention of significant impact on the policies in those countries about their military effectiveness for our ability to
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work with them. >> i have to make one comment that somehow or other you are simply following orders here of your commander in chief who made a decision in your testimony this morning. i think your testimony was not only eloquent but personal. you made it very clear that you were reflecting your personal view which you are obligated under the of you take to give to us. we thank you for that and i've thank you not just because i agree with what you said but more importantly because you were required to give us a personal view and it was clear to me and most of us that this was a view that you hold in your conscience and not giving to us because you were directed to by anybody including the commander in chief. this statement of yours in my judgment was a profile in leadership this morning.
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it is going to take a great deal of leadership to have this change made. i hope it is. the sooner the better. with the kind of leadership you have shown this morning, it is very doable in a short period of time. one other comment about what is to be done in the interim. you will be looking at that without legislative change. it is my understanding that when service members are discharged under the don't ask don't tell policy with an honorable discharge the department of defense policy is they only receive half of their separation pay which is authorized by statute. you are authorized to give half or full payment. you look at that as something we could do in the interim here to indicate greater sense of
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fairness about this issue. you are sitting there quietly. alisha have asked the you have a final question? >> thank you. . it has been a long hearing this morning. men and women who serve your family's, we will stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> we are going to have a hearing next thursday. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> do you think that this yearlong study is too slow given
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your interest in doing something about it this year so we can have a moratorium? >> obviously i would like to see this resolved. secretary gates might be required. he was asked in the first year so i would like to see it earlier. if there is a moratorium on it, what i consider to be a slow pace -- warfare. >> have you ruled out actual repeal? comments on american and canadian forces fighting side by side? >> the canadian approach was not to discriminate against gays or provided any problem to canadian forces or created any problems
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to other coalition forces like ours fighting side-by-side with canadians. that is my own belief. >> it is a good model? >> frequently happens that canadians have a good model. >> inserting a repeal into defense authorization? >> i don't know what we will proceed with until our hearings are completed. we will have a hearing a week from thursday with an outside panel. we have our service chiefs and secretaries who are going to be asked about it. there are a number of options including a moratorium which makes sense to me. this is not only under review but there was a decision the secretary supports which our chairman of the joint chiefs personally supports to make a change in the policy. there will be that kind of momentum.
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why not have a moratorium after the outcome? that strikes me at the moment. >> as president obama -- >> to make that kind of decision -- the defense authorization act puts the policy in place to begin with. >> do you think it will be in that bill -- >> perfectly appropriate place to put a moratorium or repeal or some other action relative to don't ask don't tell. >> as president obama indicated what he will do about moratorium? >> i don't know anything other than what he said in his speech. the partners of gay service members. would that be statistically significant to do a study like that? >> try me again. >> if you are having a study like this taking into account the opinions of service members and their families, it wouldn't
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then include the opinions of gay service members and their partners? >> you have to paint the opinion of gay service members. that is the question senator mccaskill raised. you have to either look at the ones that are separated or voluntarily resigned to talk to them as former service members or have -- everybody would agree and i can't imagine my colleagues who favor the don't ask don't tell policy would not agree to a request from somebody to talk to a current gay member. that is in response to a question particularly by someone authorized to ask a question. i think everybody would agree that opinion should be solicited but not penalized. she raises a very significant
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point. this point would need to be addressed, an accurate survey. you have to talk to a broad cross-section of people. >> the comments today were strong. >> i had previous conversations and indications of personal belief, very strong belief in not allowing people to be themselves and integrity is the nature of our army and armed forces that people want integrity and respect integrity. asking people to be something other than they are. i wasn't surprised by it. we have come to rely on mike mullen as someone who will give you his personal opinion straight. it is not only a valuable source of information, it is required
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by our constitution, by our rules. when you ask men and women who have been around long enough to know -- one of the questions is will you tell this committee your personal opinion regardless of whether it is in agreement with the administration, when asked by this committee, he did that this morning. he showed some exemplary leadership this morning. his testimony in suggesting this would represent command influence was off target. it was inconsistent with everything we require of our military. >> how important would be in this debate? >> it is very important as to
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how this gets done. >> is the repeal -- [inaudible] >> more likely repealed i am guessing but we have to await testimony. it is probably more likely prospect because of the study in which the secretary announced today -- i don't want to preclude anything or predict anything. people have to be heard from. and appropriate vehicle to act. >> you can do it either way. is perfectly appropriate to put a defense authorization bill that changes relative to don't ask don't tell. if my memory is right, that was put into place to begin with. it is appropriate to modify or repeal it or have a moratorium.
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>> there is no delay for the entire hearing. i hope i don't have to be fired within the time this hearing takes place. >> we have followed your career and we admire it. >> when he tried to implement the don't ask don't tell last time the mid-level officers refused to implement it as it was promised to them. colin powell was told they could go to gay bars or march in a parade as long as they did come out in the physical capacity, they would be prosecuted. the mid level largely -- officers would not promote yeas. >> i won't comment. it is too third


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