ATLANTA: On Thursday April 7th the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee held an oversight hearing on the ongoing DADT repeal implementation. The service chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force were asked to testify before the committee and answer questions. From the opening remarks of the ranking majority member of the Committee, and the tone of the questions, it was clear that there had been an expectation that the service chiefs would express the same reservations and or opposition to allowing open gay service in our armed forces as they did early in 2010 at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings. They didn’t.
American Veterans For Equal Rights commends the service chiefs of our armed forces their forthright integrity and principled leadership in clearly testifying that there have been no problems in the implementation process of training service members regarding the transition, and that they do not expect to see any problems. This included direct interaction with troops in combat zones who indicated that they were focused on battling the enemy and were unconcerned about serving alongside those they have already been serving with.
In response to questions about the necessity of new rules regarding disruptive conduct by gay service members in the close confines of combat and submarines, The chiefs clearly stated that the sexual orientation of their service members was irrelevant; no new rules have been needed in that the rules of conduct apply to all. The service chiefs stated that the key to the ongoing success was leadership, starting with themselves, in instructing troops on the next step in diversity in our armed forces. That is exactly what AVER stressed in consulting with the Pentagon Working Group, last year, as it studied the best ways to implement the change.
AVER condemns those members of the HASC who ignorantly insulted the integrity of our service chiefs, and all of our patriotic service members, by suggesting that their current testimony might be disingenuous due to their being within the chain of command, despite their previous testimony to the Senate last year. Those of us who have proudly served know and understand that our service chiefs meant exactly what they said when they testified that they expect nothing less than getting the job done right.
AVER’s veterans have renewed faith and pride in our armed forces and its leadership, once more making our military a proud example of the strength of American diversity, and restoring our nation as a leader in the global struggle for freedom and justice.
American Veterans For Equal Rights (AVER) is the nation’s all volunteer LGBT veteran’s service organization, serving veterans and service members since 1990 and advocating equality in our armed forces.
AVER Public Affairs,