WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following the conclusion of today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Senator Susan Collins released this statement:
“Like our closest allies, the United States’ Armed Forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country.
“After hearing powerful testimony from Secretary of Defense Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, and reviewing the results of the Pentagon report, I remain convinced that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” implemented under President Clinton, should be repealed. And, I agree with Secretary Gates that the issue should be decided by Congress, not the courts.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I voted, last May, to include in the Defense Authorization bill language repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, subject to certification by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that there would not be a negative impact on combat effectiveness and military readiness. It is especially reassuring to learn from the Pentagon report that, after extensive interviews and feedback from service members, nearly 70 percent say that having a gay service member in their unit would have a “positive, mixed, or no effect” on the unit’s effectiveness.
“Once the tax issue is resolved, I have made it clear that if the Majority Leader brings the Defense Authorization bill to the floor with sufficient time allowed for debate and amendments, I would vote to proceed to the bill.”