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Senate Armed Services Committee to hear testimony on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ report

Senate Armed Services Committee to hear testimony on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ report

The Senate Armed Services Committee has announced two days of hearings set to begin next week covering the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” report commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert Gates last spring.

This action follows public release of the report which is scheduled for next Tuesday, Nov. 30. The committee’s notice, issued today, states that the hearings will be held next Thursday and Friday, Dec. 2 and 3, and are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. each day.

Principal witnesses will include Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Additionally, the Pentagon’s working group co-chairs, Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel, and General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Forces Europe, are scheduled to testify before the committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday that he felt holding hearings on the report would “be a boost” to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in this lame duck session of Congress.

Thursday witnesses are expected to includes hearing testimony from General James Cartwright, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and four of the five military service chiefs: Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; Marine Corps Gen. James Amos; and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz. Not scheduled to appear is the Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp.

Alex Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United, said he agreed hearings could be beneficial to repeal efforts, however indicating that hearing testimony over a two-day period may create some problems in passage of the legislation.

“We’re in a period now where literally every day counts,” Nicholson told the Washington Blade. “If they’re holding hearings on Friday, that, I think, runs the risk of bumping off the motion to reconsider until Monday of the following week, which would be a strain on the calendar.”

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