WASHINGTON - Rep. Duncan Hunter of California has announced his plans to offer an amendment to the defense spending bill that would delay certification of “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, Advocate.com reports.
Hunter, long a critic of "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, said the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would require military service chiefs to certify that repeal will not affect military readiness.
"The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs should all take part in the certification process, but excluding the service chiefs is a mistake,” Hunter said. “They may agree to move forward with the repeal or they may have other recommendations for implementation and timing. Either way, their unvarnished perspective is critical to this process—especially as it relates to preserving the military's high rate of effectiveness.”
Repeal advocates denounced the amendment:
“Make no mistake. The expected Duncan Hunter amendment is designed to slow down repeal,” Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement. “It serves no constructive purpose, as the service chiefs themselves recently testified they are already very much a part of the certification process with Chairman Mullen and Secretary Gates and see no need for the amendment Mr. Hunter is offering.
“Put quite simply, it’s time for these opponents of repeal to move on,” Sarvis said. “The Congress, the President, our nation’s senior military leaders, and the American people have spoken on this issue.”
Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced a bill in January that would also require approval from the service chiefs before "don't ask, don't tell" repeal is certified.