The Commanding Officer of U.S. Army Pacific received a sharp rebuke Thursday from Defense Secretary Robert Gates after publicly challenging proposed changes to “don’t ask don’t tell” policy which bans openly gay service members.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went further, suggesting that Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon should consider resigning over comments he made in a letter to the editor of Stars and Stripes earlier this month.
At issue is a three-paragraph commentary by Mixon in the Stars and Stripes military newspaper on March 8, in which he said he does not believe that most military personnel support repeal of the policy.
“I suspect many service members, their families, veterans and citizens are wondering what to do to stop this ill-advised repeal of a policy that has achieved a balance between a citizen’s desire to serve and acceptable conduct,” Mixon wrote.
“Now is the time to write your elected officials and chain of command and express your views. If those of us who are in favor of retaining the current policy do not speak up, there is no chance to retain the current policy.”
At a Pentagon press briefing, Mullin said senior officers are obligated to follow policies enunciated by the president, those who feel they can’t have the option to “vote with your feet” and retire from military service.
Mixon’s future in uniform is “up to him,” Mullen added.
On Thursday, Pentagon officials announced new policies to reduce the number of service members expelled under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”