As the nation’s top military officer in the 1990s, Colin Powell opposed allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military. On Wednesday he switched gears, saying in a statement:
“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”On Tuesday, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, told lawmakers that they supported President Obama’s proposal to repeal the 1993 law. Admiral Mullen is the first Joint Chiefs chairman to ever take that position.
As noted on Tuesday, however, any change in the DADT policy would not come any time soon. Both Mullen and Gates told lawmakers that there would be a Pentagon review of up to a year to study how to implement any change before they expected Congress to act on repealing DADT.