U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today made the following statement after President Obama, newly sworn-in Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen certified that the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy will not harm military readiness:
"I am disappointed with the Administration's decision. Since language to repeal the DADT policy was first introduced last year, servicemembers have voiced their concerns to me about the repeal and its impact on military readiness. The unsolicited stories were the same everywhere I visited. They told me they felt their opinion did not matter because the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs had already voiced their support and approval to repeal DADT.
"Last year's DADT study revealed that large portions of the military community believed that repealing DADT would have a negative impact on military effectiveness. Nearly 24 percent of our force said they would leave or think about leaving the military sooner than planned because of the repeal. Such a potential exodus is alarming, especially at a time when our force is stretched thin, conducting combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other locations around the world.
"While the announcement today comes as no surprise, it highlights the importance of continued Congressional oversight on our military readiness. Congress must ensure repeal of DADT does not impact troop readiness, recruitment and retention. Congress must also ensure the religious freedoms and beliefs of our service members, their families, and our chaplain corps are not impacted."
This certification results in a mandatory 60-day waiting period before repeal of the law takes effect.