Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) will introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill this week that would require all four military service chiefs to certify that implementation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal would not impact combat readiness.
If just one of the service chiefs opposes repeal, it would be enough to delay or even stop the repeal from being implemented, according to Hunter’s amendment.
The measure is designed to interfere with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which would allow openly gay service members within 60 days following certification by the President, the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The four military service chiefs are far more closely connected to the day-to-day realities facing each respective service branch than those who are currently required to sign off on the repeal-including the President,” said Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The committee is set to consider the defense authorization bill on Wednesday.
If the Hunter amendment is supported in committee along party lines, the measure would likely pass because Republicans enjoy a majority on the panel by a margin of 35-27, reports the Washington Blade.
A similar vote of approval could be expected on the House floor because the GOP controls the chamber, although repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” could be formally certified under current provisions before a Senate version of Hunter’s bill could be considered.
“The expected Duncan Hunter amendment is designed to slow down repeal,” said Aubrey Sarvis, an Army Veteran and Executive Director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).
“It serves no constructive purpose, as the service chiefs themselves recently testified they are already very much a part of the certification process with Chairman Mullen and Secretary Gates and see no need for the amendment Mr. Hunter is offering,” Sarvis said.