At Thursday’s hearing, the Armed Services Committee chairman said he was troubled by the process employed to set the stage for the repeal.
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, California Republican, also accused the Obama administration of a “rush to judgment that bypassed this committee,” saying it denied Congress “the opportunity to ask questions and identify weaknesses in the repeal implementation plan.”
Under the plan, the service chiefs make recommendations about certifying whether the military is ready for the change.
“I am confident that my recommendation will be heard,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, in response to suggestions that the certification might be a rubber stamp.
Answering questions from Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, Adm. Roughead acknowledged, “We don’t yet know how this will improve combat effectiveness.” But he added, “Inclusive organizations are usually the best kind of organizations.”
Gen. Amos said the repeal would bring “peace of mind” to gay Marines who currently are serving under the threat of discharge, but added that he could not rule out the possibility that other Marines might resign as a result of the change.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Republican, made an impassioned plea for the service chiefs not to certify that their services are ready for openly homosexual personnel.
“We are at war,” she said, “and yet we are talking about one of the most monumental changes in policy [in U.S. military history].
“It has fallen upon you at this moment in history,” Mrs. Hartzler told the chiefs. “You can stop this.”
Thomas Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, told The Washington Times that the hearing showed the “deep and broad skepticism — to say the least — among Republicans.”
The center is an educational nonprofit that advocates for “sound military personnel policies” and has opposed the repeal. “There will be more hearings, I have that on good authority,” Mr. Sears said.
J. Alexander Nicholson III, executive director of Servicemembers United, which supports lifting the ban, told The Times that the hearing “reaffirmed what we already knew: That repeal is inevitable.”
“The service chiefs have been pretty clear in their professional opinion,” he said. “They’re comfortable with the change. They’re comfortable with the preparations for implementation.”
He accused the committee leadership of a “waste of taxpayer dollars and the time of the military leadership” in an effort to “find [media] sound bites that will derail this process.”
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