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Marine general opposes repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

From Charley Keyes, CNN
  • Gen. James Amos thinks the current policy works
  • Amos says he will follow orders either way
  • Most Marines oppose repealing "don't ask, don't tell," Amos thinks

Washington (CNN) -- Gen. James Amos, who is poised to become the new Marine Corps commandant, opposes repealing the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly gay and lesbian soldiers from the military.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, which held a hearing Tuesday on the nomination of Amos to become commandant, released 37 pages of policy questions the general answered in advance.

"In my personal view the current law and associated policy have supported the unique requirements of the Marine Corps and thus I do not recommend its repeal," Amos wrote.

"My primary concern with proposed repeal is the potential disruption to cohesion that may be caused by significant change during a period of expended combat operations," Amos said in his answer to the committee's advance questions.

A Defense Department review of the policy that is under way "should tell us a lot whether such a change will be disruptive to unit cohesion ... (and) provide insights into how, if Congress approves of a change in law and the president signs it, the (Defense Department) should develop policy for its implementation."

At the hearing, Amos told the committee that he believes responses from Marines on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have been mostly negative so far.

Amos said he had heard that at Marine bases and in Marines' responses to an online survey, the feeling "is predominantly negative." He added: "But I don't know that as a fact."

However, Amos made clear that he and the Marine Corps would accept the new policy if and when the law gets changed and the president, defense secretary and Joint Chiefs chairman certify that it would not impede military effectiveness and readiness.

"The Marine Corps is probably one of the most faithful services you have in our country," Amos said. "And if the law is changed by Congress and signed by the president of the United States, the Marine Corps will get in step and do it smartly."