McKeon, Wilson Encourage Comprehensive Oversight of Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Recommendations
Urge Democratic Congressional Leaders to Show Restraint on Significant Change to Military Policy in Waning Days of 111th Congress
Washington, D.C.--The top Republicans on the Armed Service Committee and the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel today called for vigorous Congressional oversight of the Department of Defense's newly-released "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" report and urged Democratic Congressional leaders to delay any attempts to repeal the law until Congress can hold hearings on the Pentagon's recommendations. Members and staff of the committee were briefed earlier today on the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" report by Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson and U.S. Army Europe Commanding Officer General Carter Ham, who were tapped by Secretary of Defense Gates to lead the review.
"We appreciate the efforts of Mr. Johnson and General Ham to collect input from America's military personnel and their families. The seriousness and professionalism by which they completed their task should now be replicated in the United States Congress," stated Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee. "Today's briefing and the release of the Pentagon's report are the first steps in what should be a comprehensive process to study whether implementing these recommendations would undermine military readiness or negatively impact the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, stated: "Using the last days of a lame duck Congress to hastily repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' would be highly irresponsible. Today's Pentagon report must be thoroughly examined by the committees of jurisdiction to determine potential impacts on military recruitment, readiness, and morale. Lawmakers and military leaders need to have as much information as possible before any action is taken on such a significant military policy."
McKeon continued, "Democratic leaders in Congress have indicated that they will try to rush to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in the waning days of the 111th Congress. This would be irresponsible. As Secretary Gates acknowledged earlier this year, the decision to repeal the law is Congress's decision. Further, Gates told our committee that it's 'vitally important, in part because it will enable us, should the Congress change the policy, to be able to tell our men and women in uniform, this is the view of the elected representatives of the United States of America.'"
"Just as Secretary Gates had an opportunity to conduct a thorough review of the implications of repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Congress must now exert its own due diligence so we understand the ramifications of overturning the law. The House Armed Services Committee should immediately schedule hearings in order to begin the oversight process necessary to handle an issue of this magnitude," concluded McKeon.