Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brody's Notes... Senate Armed Services Committee Set To Hear DADT Report December 2nd

Dirksen Senate Office Building  Photo By Brody Levesque
By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) NOV 24 | In a notice released earlier today, the Senate Armed Services Committee has announced two days of hearings set to begin next Wednesday, December 2nd, and Thursday December 3rd, covering the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” working group report commissioned by Defence Secretary Robert Gates last spring.
This action follows public release of the report which is scheduled for next Tuesday, November 30. The committee notice states that the hearings are scheduled to begin at 9 am [both days] taking place in Room SD-G50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Principal witnesses include Defence Secretary Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. Additionally, the Pentagon's working group co-chairs, Jeh Johnson, the Defence Department's general counsel, and General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Forces Europe are also scheduled to give their testimony before the committee Wednesday.
Thursday witness line-up includes hearing testimony from the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General James Cartwright, USMC, and four of the five military service chiefs: Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; Marine Corps Gen. James Amos; and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz. Not scheduled to appear is the Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp.
The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI) told reporters Monday that he felt holding hearings on the report would “be a boost” to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in this lame duck session of Congress.
Executive director of Servicemembers United, Alex Nicholson, said he agreed hearings could be beneficial to repeal efforts, however indicating that hearing testimony over a two-day period may create some problems in passage of the legislation telling the Washington Blade's Chris Johnson:
“We’re in a period now where literally every day counts,” Nicholson said. “If they’re holding hearings on Friday, that, I think, runs the risk of bumping off the motion to reconsider until Monday of the following week, which would be a strain on the calendar.”