Sue Fulton and JD Smith are back to liveblog the Senate debate involving DADT repeal.

The URL for the CoverItLive console is http://tinyurl.com/phbdadt.  

Sue Fulton is the Chair of Knights Out – 1980 graduate of West Point, former Army Captain and company commander.

JD Smith is the active duty co-director of OutServe. A graduate of a U.S. service academy. “JD Smith” is a pseudonym since he is currently an active-duty officer.

Note: Comments will be disabled in CoverItLive, but readers are welcome to use this blog entry to post your thoughts/reactions. If you want to see what people are tweeting about DADT, we’ve included that stream on the right.

Video feed is here: http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN3.aspx and archived here.

NOTE: The Wonk Room has an excellent chart on the positions of the service chiefs: The Service Chiefs On DADT Repeal: Two Endorse Lifting The Ban, Marine Chief Opposes Outright.

UPDATE: Big development from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – IAVA Joins Top Military Leaders in Supporting Repeal of DADT:

As an organization that represents veterans and troops serving in the current conflicts, our members have a unique perspective on the modern dynamics of this issue. A recent IAVA survey revealed that a clear majority of our membership does not object to gay men and women openly serving in the military. These survey results come after years of extensive discussions with our members, key leaders in the new veterans community and the Department of Defense (DoD), all of which helped IAVA reach an informed decision on this policy. Our membership’s views are consistent with the results of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group report released earlier this week, which revealed that over two-thirds of servicemembers do not think ending this policy would have an impact on military cohesion and readiness.

“IAVA shares Secretary Gates’ and Admiral Mullen’s opinion that upholding the integrity of the military as an institution is critical. All men and women who have committed their lives to service and sacrifice in our military should be treated equally,” IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff stated. “We also share the concern of military leaders that a prolonged court battle resulting from failure to repeal DADT legislatively would be damaging and disruptive to our armed forces. Allowing the courts to decide this issue could result in an overnight repeal that may not allow adequate preparation time for troops on the ground. Our military needs clear leadership and guidance on this policy to maintain the highest level of cohesion, effectiveness and readiness. That clarity can only come with legislative action now. We urge the Senate to move quickly to pass the NDAA, including the DADT provision.”

In addition to DADT, the NDAA contains key provisions to expand mental health care resources, address Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and improve electronic sharing of health records between the DoD and the VA, all issues of critical importance to IAVA’s membership.

(Liveblogging via Sue Fulton, with many thanks for her great work and important commentary! ~Louise)


Friday December 3, 2010

9:11

Pam Spaulding: Apologies for the late start we’re live

9:11

Sue Fulton: Levin opened the session with the usual review.

We will hear from:

Roughead, Navy

Casey, Army

Amos, Marines

Schwartz, Air Force

Papp, Coast Guard (a Service Chief but not technically member of the “Joint Chiefs”)

In the past, here is how they rack up as far as DADT repeal:

Roughead: pro-repeal

Casey: anti-repeal

Amos: extremely anti-repeal

Schwartz: anti-repeal

Papp: pro-repeal

Last week Schwartz came out and said he supports the report, so he may be tepidly pro-repeal at this point.

Amos is considered a probable lost cause, though he has said that if the law changes, Marines will execute repeal better than anyone.

If Casey comes across as PRO-repeal, that puts a lot of pressure on the Senate to go forward.

9:11

Sue Fulton: Okay McCain is up!

9:12

Sue Fulton: Yesterday he spent a lot of time on Wikileaks. Weird.

9:13

Sue Fulton: Oops, above I missed Cartwright, the Vice Chief, who is a Marine.

9:14

Sue Fulton: McCain: this capable force COULD implement DADT repeal if we asked them. I want to know WHETHER the law should be repealed…Unfortunately this was not the focus of the study. I am not saying we should leave the decision in their [troops'] hands. But…

He’s not going to leave this point. He really does want the troops to vote.

9:16

Sue Fulton: Now he’s going to insult Mullen again. He’s making the point that the Chiefs have command responsibility – unlike the Chairman.

He’s of course ignoring Ham’s command position over US Army Europe. And the many commands he and Mullen have had.

9:16

Sue Fulton: “anyone who alleges that I have not listened to the military opinion on this issue is disregarding the record”

9:17

Sue Fulton: Levin just interrupted to say “we have a quorum” – they are going to vote on the nomination of an AF General -

9:17

Sue Fulton: Okay, that’s done.

9:18

Sue Fulton: Cartwright, Vice Chairman. Marine. Let’s see if McCain points out that he, like Mullen, is “not in a command position.”

9:18

Sue Fulton: “Troops deserve to have their voices heard on this important issue.”

Cartwright is thanking the Working group for their report.

9:19

Sue Fulton: It is my view that implementatoin would involve manageable risk… There is never a perfect time. This may be a better time than one might expect.”

9:19

Sue Fulton: I’ll be honest, dear reader… I do not know where Cartwright was expected to be on this issue. But he is clearly supporting repeal.

9:21

[Comment From Candice from West Point]

The wittnesses seem pretty stacked in McCain’s favor… who was behind building this panel?

9:21

Sue Fulton: “I believe the men and women of the US Armed Forces…look beyond the issues of race, religion, gender, and frankly, sexual orientation.”

Recognizes “any good survey asks key questions in multiple ways.”

So even though combat troops may be more negative, when “based on actual experience,” there is no issue.

9:22

Sue Fulton: Candice – Actually, the addition of the Vice Chairman (Marines) and the Coast Guard Chief seems to have tilted it toward pro-repeal.

9:22

Sue Fulton: If you only had the big four – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines – it’s 2.5 to 1.5 against repeal

9:23

Sue Fulton: Cartwright: strong statement.

9:23

Sue Fulton: Now it’s Casey. This is critical.

9:24

Sue Fulton: Casey: is going to focus on risk to the force

“a major cultural and policy change in the middle of a war”

This is going bad. The report has not changed his mind.

9:25

Sue Fulton: “I believe that implemention of repeal in the near term will 1. add another level of stress to an already-stressed force; 2. be more difficult for combat arms; and 3. be more difficult for the Army than the report describes.”

9:25

Sue Fulton: Casey may have just killed the bill in the Senate.

9:26

Sue Fulton: I mean, he has been known to be anti-repeal, but he is making a strong statement that will give McCain and his cronies cover to avoid repeal.

9:27

Sue Fulton: ADM Roughead i s up: will be pro-repeal.

9:28

[Comment From Rick, retired AF]

I definitely need to call my son, a Marine officer, and tell him I found a Marine General with commons sense

9:29

Sue Fulton: Rick – it’s like a unicorn!

9:30

Sue Fulton: Roughead made a strong statement, but after Casey it won’t help much.

9:30

Sue Fulton: to be honest, no one is worried about the Air Force, Navy, or Coast Guard. They are worried about the Marines and the Army combat arms.

9:31

Sue Fulton: Amos is up. “policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces” – he has used the word “homosexuality” twice in the first 15 seconds. That’s a tell.

9:32

Sue Fulton: We know that Ham and Johnson, after much of their study, that “homosexuals” was pejorative and that “gays and lesbians” was respectful. Amos clearly knows this.

9:33

Sue Fulton: Amos: what the survey did not address is the risk to the force, after nine years of combat operations.

This is not true. The survey directly addressed this risk.

9:33

Pam Spaulding: FYI there’s an op-ed in USA TODAY by Major General Vance Coleman, “Gays in our military deserve better” http://www.usatoday.com/news/o…

9:34

Sue Fulton: Amos, when vetted on this issue, indicated to the White House and the SecDef that he would support repeal. He blindsided him with his opposition.

9:36

Sue Fulton: Amos: in the final analysis, could we implement repeal? Yes. We are Marines.

should we implement repeal at this time? Based on what I know about the very tough fight in Afghanistan, the singular focus on training… the tightly woven culture of the Marine Corps.. my recommendation is that we should not implement repeal at this time.

9:36

Sue Fulton: Amos and Casey have worked together on this.

9:36

Sue Fulton: Schwartz is up. Don’t know where he’ll land.

9:37

Sue Fulton: Air Force attitudes are roughly 70-30 positive toward repeal.

9:37

Sue Fulton: Schwartz has an unfortunate lisp.

9:37

Sue Fulton: When the lispy guy talks about the “complicating factors” of billeting, etc, it is not very comforting.

9:38

Sue Fulton: Implementation represents “modest” risk to readiness of the Air Force.

9:39

Sue Fulton: “I do not agree with the study that the short-term risk is low… I remain concerned with the study assessment that the risk of repeal among our combat troops in Afghanistan is ‘low’ ”

9:39

Sue Fulton: Schwartz’s opposition is probably not decisive. But certainly not helpful.

9:40

Sue Fulton: Schwartz recommends deferring full implementation until 2012.

AND he supports Gates’s point that legislative action preferable to judicial. Interesting.

9:41

Sue Fulton: Papp, Coast Guard. He concurs with the report’s recommendations on how to implement repeal.

9:41

Sue Fulton: He is making the point about DADT being contrary to core values.

9:42

Sue Fulton: Papp is pointing out that Coast Guard works closely with first-responders in communities, many of them gay and lesbian.

9:43

Sue Fulton: And that views vary among the different branches of service.

9:43

Sue Fulton: He’s deferring to the Army and Marine chiefs to some extent – that he is not expert in their branch.

9:44

Sue Fulton: Guys, I am so depressed after the strong opinions from Casey and Amos. Not unexpected, but I’m worried that Cartwright, Roughead, and Papp were not strong enough to mitigate.

9:44

Sue Fulton: Questioning starts with Levin.

9:45

Sue Fulton: Levin to Cartwright: Mullen and Gates indicated that with proper leadership and training, that repeal could be implemented without significant risk.

9:46

Sue Fulton: Levin: Now you’re a Marine. Amos is a Marine. But your view is very different. Amos is clearly worried that negative perceptions among Marines is a problem. Can you comment on Amos’s testimony?

9:46

Sue Fulton: Cartwright: we were 2LTs together. My view was shaped by talking to, not only Marines, but to members of other services. I am still, and always will be, a Marine…

9:47

Sue Fulton: Cartwright: The difference is, when you try to guess what the future will be, stereotypes and misperceptions might influence what you expect the future will be.

9:48

Sue Fulton: C: I was more influenced by those … who had actual experience with gays and lesbians… it had no effect on the unit.

There was a SEAL who said, someone in his unit who was gay was the biggest and the meanest, and killed the most people, and the effectiveness of the unit depended on him.

9:49

Sue Fulton: Cartwright is very effective pointing out, if you don’t KNOW (someone gay or lesbian), then you are very negative.

9:50

Sue Fulton: Levin: asking them about experience of foreign militaries – who changed when opposition within their military was higher than in ours today.

9:52

Sue Fulton: Casey pointing out that other countries had broad national consensus and national laws protecting gays that US doesn’t have.

Roughead positive of course.

9:52

Sue Fulton: Still reeling from Casey clinging to the point that other countries are more gay-friendly so we can disregard their experience.

9:53

Sue Fulton: Has he not seen the poll numbers that 78% of the US approve of gays in the military?

9:54

Sue Fulton: Amos: “But we are the USMC. We are heavily involved in combat right now. I can only speak for where we are today, with only 50% of our forces heavily engaged.”

9:54

Sue Fulton: Schwartz: “That evidence isnot necessarily compelling… I find that US police and fire depts in the US is a more compelling analogue.”

9:54

Sue Fulton: Huh?

9:55

Pam Spaulding: Good chart on service chiefs’ positions up at The Wonk Room: “The Service Chiefs On DADT Repeal: Two Endorse Lifting The Ban, Marine Chief Opposes Outright.” http://goo.gl/uogfQ

9:57

Sue Fulton: Casey : “Commanders and first sergeants have a lot on their plate”

“if they do this, something else will not get done”

Levin: “What will not get done?”

Casey: “I… I … uh can’t tell you specifically, but some of thoes other intellectual tasks…”

9:58

Sue Fulton: Levin asks about the need for Congress to act, vs a court decision.

9:58

Sue Fulton: Levin is testy that they seem to be ignoring the certification requirement in the legislation, that gives them time to address the issues.

10:00

Sue Fulton: Casey: any course of action that gives us appropriate time to prepare is the right course. Whether from Congress or the courts, that’s appropriate.

Levin: Doesnt the time currently in the legislation give you the time you need?

Casey: It does.

10:02

Sue Fulton: Gen Amos?

Amos: i think it goes a long way towards easing some of the pressure. I thought a lot about, “if not now, when?”. My concern is singularly those combat units in combat or preparing to go to combat .

I would use the Iraq draw-down as a guide… maybe when combat operations have drawn down

10:02

Sue Fulton: McCain is giddy with happiness about the Army and Marine Corps testimony

“obvious there is a lot more scrutiny and work required before passing this legislation”

10:04

Sue Fulton: Ana Marie Cox (love huh!) tweets “Casey implying that Army cannot chew gum and integrate openly serving gays into the military at the same time.”

10:05

Sue Fulton: Apparently knowing someone in their unit is gay will cripple Marine combat forces.

10:05

Sue Fulton: McCain is repeating his “greatest hits” from Casey and Amos testimony.

10:06

Sue Fulton: Casey: I believe the law should be repealed eventually. Seems to me the report calls into question the “unit cohesion” argument. I don’t believe that (gays negatively impact unit cohesion). The question for me is one of timing.

McCain (prompting): And at this time?

Casey: I don’t believe that it should be done at this time.

10:07

Sue Fulton: Schwartz?

Schwartz (AF): Perhaps full implementation in 2012… I think full implementation at this time is too risky.

10:07

Sue Fulton: Schwartz: If you allow us to begin a process of transition, I believe, not in 2011, but maybe in 2012, that would be acceptable to me.

10:08

Sue Fulton: McCain: I agree; to rush this thing through in a lame-duck session would not take into consideration, particularly some of the views of our senior enlisted personnel.. they could contribute, as well as our senior officer corps.

10:08

Sue Fulton: McCain would like to personally interview every service member to get their opinion on this before he decides…

10:09

Sue Fulton: Lieberman: You represent the best values of our country.

Really, Deputy Dawg? Not hearing the value of integrity and honesty from Army or Marines.

10:10

Sue Fulton: Lieberman: In the end, each of you have said, you will make it work. Gen Amos, despite the challenges you voiced, you said, at the end of the day the Marine corps will support the law.

Yadda yadda you guys are awesome yadda yadda

10:11

Sue Fulton: Lieberman still getting around to a question…

10:12

Sue Fulton: Some convoluted question to Amos

10:13

Sue Fulton: Amos: Yesterday spoke to MG Mills and a batttalion commander in the most dangerous fight in Afghanistan. i asked both of them their opinions. Both of them said, we are so busy there has not even been one ounce of discussion on this.

You can interpret it that they just don’t care, but

I chose to interpret it based on the survey results that they ARE concerned.

10:13

Sue Fulton: Amos translated: I heard that they don’t care, and I chose to interpret that “I agree with whatever my Commandant thinks”

10:14

Sue Fulton: Amos’s chief talking point “Marines are singularly focused on combat”

10:14

Sue Fulton: Lieberman: it sounds to me you all agree with repeal, just a matter of timing

10:14

Sue Fulton: My question: so you have time to investigate and outprocess gays, but not to let them come out?

10:18

Sue Fulton: Cartwright: I look at this as an opportunity to tailor the legislation, and to tailor the timing

Lieberman: what if we implement repeal in those not in combat now, those in combat later?

Amos: maybe

Schwartz: different timelines for different branches is probably not the best idea

10:18

Sue Fulton: Roughead: to repeal on different timelines by service, that is not workable; should be implemented across all services at once

10:20

Sue Fulton: Inhofe wants to talk to Casey and Amos first.

Is quoting again the “23.7% said they would leave sooner” if repeal happens

Inhofe: What would that loss do to you, GEN Casey?

Casey: that’s overstated

Inhofe (hastily): okay what if it’s overstated by 50%

Casey: well, there’s an increased level of risk vs low, but since they don’t all leave at the same time, it’s acceptable

Inhofe (talking over Casey): well, what about recruiting?

Amos: I just don’t see that would have an impact.

Inhofe: (fumes).

10:23

Sue Fulton: Inhofe back on his concern that “only a third of the people responded to the survey because no one asked them the right questions”

10:24

Sue Fulton: Inhofe: Should that question have been asked, whether we should repeal?

Casey: No, the military is not a democracy.

Inhofe: Anyone else? Gen Amos? (pleading)

Amos: No, I’m with the other guys.

Inhofe: (sigh)

10:25

Sue Fulton: Amos: I think there was a sense of inevitability, though.

Inhofe (eagerly): I think that’s right!

10:26

Sue Fulton: Amos: Then Gen Conway went out and talked to the Marines, and the response rate went up, so we got what we needed.

Inhofe: (frustrated)

10:26

Sue Fulton: Inhofe is ending each question with “Anyone want to respond to that General Amos?”

10:29

Sue Fulton: Reed to Casey: Is it your conclusion that the presence of gay and lesbian soldiers does not undermine readiness?

Casey: What I said was, the old belief was it was unacceptable risk to good order and discipline, and I don’t think that’s true, based on the survey.

10:29

Sue Fulton: Reed is pushing on the point, knowing a soldier is gay has not caused threats to good order and discipline.

10:30

Sue Fulton: Reed: So how do you deal with the fact that, there are gays in these units and it doesn’t affect good order and discipline? Couldn’t maintaining this policy cause more trouble than changing it? Gen Casey?

10:31

Sue Fulton: Casey: I do think we need to be careful with saying, do you feel this way if you believe someone is gay or lesbian, vs do you KNOW someone is gay or lesbian. There is a difference between believing and knowing, and I think the soldiers would react differently to that.

The single most bizarre statement of the day.

10:31

Sue Fulton: Seriously, he’s going to get away with that?

10:31

Sue Fulton: Seriously?

10:33

Sue Fulton: Reed is following up on the “difference between believing and knowing” – but he’s mumbling a little and not really figuring it out.

It’s okay, Senator, it IS a silly point.

10:34

Sue Fulton: Amos: The Marines yadda yadda elite yadda warriors yadda different from everyone else yadda yadda Marine b.s.

10:36

Sue Fulton: Amos: 80% of Marine combat forces said they had not served with a gay or lesbian, so we have less experience with this.

One of the comments that came in on the online survey, from a Marine LT… to the effect that gays would upset the delicate balance of unit cohesiveness his unit relies on.

10:36

Sue Fulton: Chambliss up.

10:39

Sue Fulton: Chambliss: It’s pretty obvious that combat troops, the guys who are in the foxhole, are the ones who have the largest objections to this… as I have been in theater, that’s where I’ve seen the same thing…

Would the repeal of DADT have a positive impact on readiness of your troops?

(me: foxholes? in the desert?)

Casey: I believe it would increase the risk on our soldiers in combat.

Chambliss: would it result in higher injury or loss of life?

Casey: it could, but I’m not going to say it would.

10:41

Sue Fulton: Amos: (long hesitation) it could impact readiness.

Chambliss: to others, would it have the potential of increase in injury or loss of life

Amos: I think the potential for damage is there.

Chambliss (satisfied)

10:42

Sue Fulton: Webb: You could have sat every trooper down and asked them these questions, but we heard from 160,000 troops.

I hope that we all read the whole survey rather than… cherry-pick(ing) number out of the survey.

Webb is praising GEN Ham and his integrity. Excellent.

10:43

Sue Fulton: Webb: I will focus on two questions:

1. ability to tailor this process – I initially thought maybe combat arms would be phased in separately, but from what I’m hearing, that’s not on the table. Gen Cartwright?

10:44

Sue Fulton: Cartwright: The study does provide the opportunity to structure the implementatoin. We could look at it by theater, by branch, as long as it makes sense on the battlefield.

Our opinion varies as to how. By time, by unit, by theater, by deployment cycle… Most of our services are mixed; we’d have to look at what works

10:45

Sue Fulton: Webb and Cartwright discussing how implementation might be structured. Webb wants to know how it will be structured: Cartwright is saying the Chiefs will decide.

10:46

Sue Fulton: Schwartz tries to object, Webb says, hey I don’t have time for you. Wimp.

10:46

Sue Fulton: Sorry guys, trying to capture a lot. Excuse my editorializing.

10:47

Sue Fulton: Webb: Point 2.

When someone is serving well, and is gay or lesbian, what is it we should be doing when they’re 15 years in their service, and they want to be able to live an open, honest lifestyle? what do we do with them?

10:48

Sue Fulton: If DADT still in effect?

Webb: yes, if their conduct is above reproach?

Casey: We follow the law.

10:49

Sue Fulton: Webb: I understand, I’m talking about the human dimension.

Casey: We follow the law.

Webb: But what about the human dimension?

Casey: I understand. We follow the law.

10:49

Sue Fulton: Papp (CG) If I might; we need clear and unambiguous guidance… our leaders are getting confusing guidance, perhaps being told to exercise selective obedience… Need to be clear.

10:49

Sue Fulton: Go Coast Guard!

10:51

Sue Fulton: Grandpa Levin: the results of the survey reveal a widespread opinion that repeal of DADT will not have an effect on their ability to perform their mission. I am putting the whole report in the record.

10:53

Sue Fulton: Thune: How do we weigh your opinions vs Chairman of the JCS and SecDef?

Should the legislation require Service Chiefs to certify prior to repeal?

Casey: No, not necessary.

Thune: (paraphrasing): come on, really?

Casey: My views will be heard by the CJCS. If you put that in the law, it will undercut the Chairman, I don’t agree with that.

(none of the other chiefs are biting).

10:58

Sue Fulton: Is Thune the most boring member of the committee? I dozed off a bit there.

10:59

Sue Fulton: Udall is entering the Palm Center presser into the record!!

11:04

Sue Fulton: Udall: Secy Gates comments on certification: isn’t that enough for you guys (sue paraphrasing)

Casey: I would agree, and I am comfortable with my ability to get my opinions to Sec Gates.

All the other chiefs agree.

11:04

Sue Fulton: This is going to go long today.

11:06

Sue Fulton: Udall asking again, if we change this policy, can you make it work?

They’ve all already said yes, now they’re saying yes again.

Casey is sticking to “moderate risk.”

11:06

Sue Fulton: An aside before we listen to Mississippi SEN Wicker

11:08

Sue Fulton: The report’s summary specifically said the risk to readiness of repealing DADT was assessed as LOW.

Several of the chiefs wanted the report to say LOW TO MODERATE. The Working Group thanked them for their opinion and published as LOW.

This is why Casey keeps saying “the risk is MODERATE.” It is a real sticking point to him. Probably a little irritated at Ham, who is also a four-star, and did this job reporting to SecDef, not Casey himself.

11:08

Sue Fulton: Wicker: drone drone drone I remember last Christmas, we were talking abou t healthcare drone

11:09

Sue Fulton: Wicker: Is this the time to putting more stress on our troops? Should be putting all their talents and energies toward winning the war?

Sounds like a case AGAINST DADT, not FOR.

11:11

Sue Fulton: Wicker asks Amos to repeat the quote from the young Marine Lieutenant.

Amos: His team, his unit, relies on cohesiveness: “Despite differences, we anticipate each other’s moves.” “It’s an almost filial love” “To add any element of sexual competition, intra-unit sexuality, would destroy” the bonds.

11:11

Sue Fulton: Homo-erotic much?

11:11

Sue Fulton: Wicker: I can’t imagine that situation is going to be that different in 2012 or 2013. We’re always going to be asking that type of fighting man to be operating under those kinds of conditions.

11:12

Sue Fulton: Amos: My recommendation is not to do this as long as we have forces in combat…

I’m assuming sometime in our future we will come out of Afghanistan. Some time when we have more elasticity, more flexibility in our training schedule.

11:13

Sue Fulton: Amos is like McCain – delay delay delay

11:14

Sue Fulton: Pam just tweeted that IAVA announced support for DADT repeal! This is HUGE>

11:14

Sue Fulton: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

11:15

Sue Fulton: Wicker believes most people kicked out under DADT came forward and made statements and asked to be separated.

Wicker: Can any of you talk abou t how the 13,000 were kickedout?

We can all agree they were not rounded up in witchhunts.

11:15

Sue Fulton: OMG Wicker is trying to say the DADT separations were voluntary

11:20

Sue Fulton: Chiefs are saying separations are predominantly statements, people who came forward and said they were gay

11:20

Sue Fulton: Manchin talking about Chaplains.

11:21

Sue Fulton: Re discharges, from Aaron Belkin at the Palm Center: They’re about 85% statements. Roughly half of the 85% is people who just want to get out of jail free, including straight malingerers. The other half is people facing harassment who have no other choice but to come out, or who simply cannot tolerate living the lie anymore.

11:21

Sue Fulton: But how many leave on their own, like me?

11:21

Sue Fulton: None of the fundie churches is willing to pull their chaplains out of the military.

11:22

Sue Fulton: Schwartz pointed out that all chaplains have a mandate to “minister to the entire flock”

11:22

Sue Fulton: Papp backing up Schwartz.

Most of the Chiefs think there will be little change with Chaplains.

11:23

Sue Fulton: Manchin is sitting like a little kid, leaning forward in his chair, clasping his hands between his knees.

11:25

Sue Fulton: Casey: You may have come up with a question that is above our pay grade.

Manchin: I didn’t believe that was possible.

(gosh you guys are SO AMAZING and i’m just glad to be here!!)

11:25

Sue Fulton: Sessions. Oh lord.

11:25

Sue Fulton: Sessions: A majority of soldiers oppose the change. We shouldn’t be under the impression there is a groundswell of support for this.

11:26

Sue Fulton: Sessions: The Army, Marines, and Air Force all have questions about this.

(Thank you, Senator Sessions, for keeping score for those of us who haven’t been paying attention for, i dunno, the last six months)

11:27

Sue Fulton: Sessions to Schwartz. Wants to talk about procurement.

11:28

Sue Fulton: Anyone know about this? a release of an analysis of procurement proposals?

11:28

Sue Fulton: This former soldier (me) is confused and bored by discussions about procurement.

11:28

Sue Fulton: Ok, back to DADT.

11:30

Sue Fulton: Sessions challenging Papp about his statement that there is confusion in the law.

Sessions: I have looked at the law, and I am ABSOLUTELY convinced that this… will be upheld by the Supreme court. They have always granted latitude to the military.

(now he’s attacking Kagan. Getting angry about it too!)

11:31

Sue Fulton: Sessions: jeh Johnson should not have been appointed to this Working Group because he did not push to send the Witt case back to the lower court.

11:31

Sue Fulton: Sessions: (weird pause. He can’t find something).

11:32

Sue Fulton: Sessions: I’m not here to condemn anybody. We live in a great country, all kinds of people……

But I did notice one of the questions, they asked indivs who served with gays, did it affect readiness, the number was pretty high that morale/effectiveness was affected negatively. 45% or so. Seems to me pretty high. Is that correct, Gen Amos?

11:33

Sue Fulton: Amos: I’ve drawn a blank. I know how many Marines have served with gays, I don’t recall that question.

Sessions (paraphrasing) I’m done now.

11:33

Sue Fulton: Hagan is up. Starts out talking about leadership.

11:34

Sue Fulton: Hagan: how will the JCS and the Service Chiefs coordinate this so it can be universally implemented at the same time?

Cartwright: we would sit down and meet to discuss the different concerns.. . yadda yadda

Duh.

11:35

Sue Fulton: Amos: Chapter 13 in the report has a good plan to get started.

Each of the services has an operational planning team to tackle this.

11:37

Sue Fulton: Hagan: GEN Casey: timeframe?

Casey: Until we have a chance to study it more, none of us here would want to state a timeframe.

Roughead (in a slap to Casey): I would expect some months. Long stretches of uncertainty are not good for morale and effectiveness.

Schwartz: I would add except for the caveat to look at combat forces especially.

11:37

Louise: Hi Sue; sorry I wasn’t able to be here sooner!

11:37

Sue Fulton: Hagan: Do you think the uncertainty driven by court opinions is negatively affecting the force? and Congress action would be better?

Objection, leading the witness.

11:38

Sue Fulton: Hey louise, we got a tiny bit of a late start but it’s all good.

11:38

Sue Fulton: Chiefs in favor of repeal agreeing with Hagan, Chiefs oppose disagree.

11:40

Sue Fulton: http://iava.org/blog/iava-join…

Link for IAVA endorsement of DADT repeal

11:40

Sue Fulton: Hagan quoting from the report. Asking how have forces evolved since 1993 around this issue?

11:41

Sue Fulton: Casey: I didn’t listen to all of ADM Mullen’s testimony, but…

SNAP!

11:41

Sue Fulton: sorry, Hagan quoted from Mullen’s testimony, not the report.

11:43

Sue Fulton: Papp talking about Academies’ integration of women!

11:43

Sue Fulton: Nobody cares.

11:43

Sue Fulton: Brown from Massachusetts.

11:44

Sue Fulton: Brown: We’re working on everything except the one thing that matters, JOBS. But I very much appreciate working on this issue. I yadda I yadda I yadda I all-about-me

11:45

Sue Fulton: Brown: I’ve talked to about a thousand people, in CONUS, also outside CONUS

(CONUS is cool-military-speak for Continental US. Duty tours inside CONUS vs outside are counted differently).

Brown: I probably understand this issue better than anyone here who hasn’t served… why didn’t you just have the commanders sit the troops down and say, fill out this survey!

11:46

Sue Fulton: Roughead (paraphrasing): it’s the 21st century, we have the interwebs now, dude

11:46

Sue Fulton: Brown: in my 31 years, I never thought you could voluntarily fill out a survey, the commander says get it done period.

11:47

Sue Fulton: Brown: Is your opinion: I’m not opposed to repeal, but concerned about the impact on battle troops on the front line

Cartwright: The issue of, can we put one more stone in the rucksack, we have different concerns.

11:48

Sue Fulton: Brown: the only important issue to me is the safety and security of our forces… implementing a social change in a time of war is a concern of yours, I get that.

Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised at the forthright nature of your testimony, and I appreciate that.

11:49

Sue Fulton: Brown reassuring the Chiefs their concerns will be respected

“I and many others share those concerns.”

11:50

Sue Fulton: Brown: If it’s done overnight, I’m hearing it will be exceedingly disruptive to the force.

Brown talks for about five minutes, then

Is there anything I said that you disagree with?

Oy

11:51

Sue Fulton: Cartwright: We will plan thoroughly… The details will unfold in the process.

11:52

Sue Fulton: Observation:

Casey continues to position himself as the leader of this group.

Roughead in particular doesn’t like it. Papp doesn’t seem to give a flip about the rest of them.

11:54

Louise: Sue, same as yesterday I am cutting/pasting all of the live blog to the Pam’s House Blend post- it is available “below the fold”. I’ll send you a link as well. :)

11:54

Sue Fulton: Levin: Re warfighting units, here’s what the report says:

While a higher % of warfighting units PREDICT negative consequences… when you compare warfighters who’ve served with gays or lesbians to non-warfighters, there is no signif difference in their prediction (89% to 92%) that there are no negative consequences.

11:56

Sue Fulton: Levin: quotes the “gay guy who was the biggest, meanest, and killed a lot of guys” quote.

Gen Amos, I guess he wasn’t a Marine.

Amos: I don’t doubt that in any outpost there is someone like that.

But 80% of our combat Marines haven’t served with gays or lesbians.

Levin: what about the ones who have?

Amos: Well. I imagine they’re more tolerant.

11:59

Sue Fulton: Levin: What % of 2.2MM currently serving are in combat units? A minority?

Chiefs: not sure of numbers

Levin scolding Schwartz: Why is 2012 the right time? won’t we be in combat?

Schwartz: it.. it.. now is too soon…

Levin: you don’t know how many will be in combat in 2011

Schwartz: I… I… I…

Schwartz: you can’t disaggregate the force

Levin: I agree with that.

Schwartz: Sir, I… what I offered in my testimony was that we… could begin training after you implement repeal

Levin: you have to repeal before implementation comes.

Schwartz (pause).

12:00

Sue Fulton:  I can’t transcribe all of this, but Levin is annihilating Schwartz over the 2012 delay proposal.

Now he is ranting, we’re not RUSHING this. we’ve been working on this for months. Years!

12:00

Sue Fulton: I’m kinda loving Granpa Levin right now.

12:01

Sue Fulton: Levin is speechifying now, we can’t get this bill to the floor, to support our troops. We didn’t pick the lame-duck. People said, wait until we get the report. WE didn’t set the time for the report.

This is actually pretty awesome.

12:03

Sue Fulton: McCain: sausage quote

as in, two things you never want to see made, laws and sausage

12:03

Sue Fulton: McCain: in all my campaign, no one came up to me and said, please repeal DADT. Everywhere I went, military folks said, please keep DADT.

But more than that, they want jobs.

12:04

Sue Fulton: McCain now speechifying, railing at Dems over not renewing tax cuts.

12:04

Sue Fulton: Everyone’s testy.

12:05

Sue Fulton: Back to DADT:

McC: I appreciate the candor of those testifying.

We shouldn’t impugn the character of anyone here.

ADM R, GEN C, I disagree but I respect your opinion.

12:05

Sue Fulton: McCain, after just impugning the character of the Democrats.

12:07

Sue Fulton: McCain wants to hear from all the senior NCOs, all the component commands, men and women serving…

“I am more than eager to have additional hearings throughout the coming year… examining all the ramifications of it…”

12:08

Sue Fulton: Lieberman: Of course I agree with McCain that jobs are a priority… but we can do both!

12:09

Sue Fulton: This second round clearly for speechifying.

12:11

Sue Fulton: Lieberman: quoting the report that only 15% of gay and lesbian servicemembers want their unit to know they’re gay.

12:11

Sue Fulton: Good point, Deputy Dawg!

12:14

Sue Fulton: Lieberman is going on and on. making some good pts tho.

Now talking about requirement for SecDef to certify. That this will announce most issues.

12:16

Sue Fulton: McCain is wrapping up: The testimony today clearly indicates we should not rush forward on this issue or pass legislation.

Mentions “pork” and abortion funding in the defense bill that will keep it from getting tothe floor.

12:17

Sue Fulton: “finest and best military this nation has ever seen which contradicts my friend’s contention about all the problems this policy has supposedly caused.”

McCain impugning the honor of his own friend Lieberman.

12:17

Sue Fulton: Levin getting the last word.

12:19

Sue Fulton: Thats all folks.

Thanks for being here!

Thanks especially to our longtime friends at Pam’s House Blend. Hey, the baristas run an amazing show on a shoestring – put some coin in the jar at pamshouseblend.com – please.

I gotta run – love you guys.

-Sue

12:19

Louise: Sue, thanks for the great blogging!