Mullen warns of "disruption" from repealing "Don't ask. Don't tell" 

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday he is putting in place a working group whose mission will be to put a plan in place to repeal the U.S military's "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding gay men and women in the military.

But Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a veiled warning.

"It is my personal believe that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," but he added "There will be some disruption in the force, I cannot deny. We would all like to have a better handle on these types of concerns and that is what our review will offer."

Gates and Mullen appeared before a Senate hearing Tuesday morning, reminding lawmakers that "we can only take the process only so far as the ultimate decision rests with you, the Congress."

The Senate has begun tackling the issue less than a week after President Barack Obama promised to work with Congress this year to repeal the policy, but it may be hard to pass such a measure in Congress.

Many Republicans oppose the repeal, as do some Democrats, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Tuesday that poll numbers show most Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

"There is no evidence that the presence of gay and lesbian colleagues would damage our military's ability to fight," Levin said.

The panel's ranking member, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., disagreed.

"Don't ask don't tell has been an imperfect, but effective policy and at this moment, when we are asking more of our military than any time in recent memory, we should not repeal this law."

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