Adm. Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at Fort Bragg yesterday and addressed the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

From McClatchy:

Openly gay recruits will likely be admitted into the military, and the services will adjust to their presence, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a group of soldiers at Fort Bragg on Wednesday.

“The law has not changed,” Mullen said, referring to a vote Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives to approve a plan that would eventually repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But President Barack Obama has made clear his support for changing the policy; Democratic members of Congress seem to be willing; and Mullen himself has said the policy is indefensible.

“I’m hard-pressed to support a policy and a law that forces people to come and lie every day,” Mullen said.

According to the piece, published in Raleigh’s News & Observer and elsewhere, Mullen met with members of the XVIII Airborne Corps and the Army Special Operations Command. He also met with wounded servicemembers and their families. and wounded soldiers and their families. At the end of the day, he addressed a gathering of about 200 soldiers, where one asked about unit morale and discipline after the inclusion of openly gay servicemembers is allowed:

One soldier stood and asked Mullen whether politicians and policymakers in Washington understood the problems that gays in the military would present. Specifically, he said, unit commanders will have to watch out for sexual assaults, hate crimes, fraternization and morale issues.

Those are disciplinary problems that are not tolerated now, Mullen said.

“We are a disciplined force. We have standards,” Mullen said, although he noted that his visits with soldiers in the field have proved to him that sexual assault and harassment are far too prevalent.

Keeping those standards, he said, “is our charge, no matter what happens” regarding the policy on gays.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.