Liveblogging the Pentagon press conference on DADT report

The presser is being broadcast live on C-SPAN2 and via webcast here.

UPDATE: The report has been posted here.

Participants in the Press Conference are Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and the authors of the report: DOD General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and U.S. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham.

Gates and Mullen are the initial speakers and, of course, Gates is speaking first. Said the survey wasn’t about asking the military whether the law should be repealed. The President made his position on repealing DADT clear. And, Gates added, “It’s a position, I support.” Needed to identify obstacles that needed to be addressed.

According to Gates, “the findings suggest that for large segments of the military, repeal of DADT…would not be the wrenching, traumatic change that many have feared and predicted.”

Gates: Won’t need a lot of changes to policy. The key to success is “training, education and, above all, strong and principled leadership.”

Gates: He intends to make sure “If law is repealed, the changes are implemented to minimize any negative impact on morale, cohesion and effectiveness of combat units.”

Red flag from Gates: “Uniformed Service Chiefs are less sanguine than the Working Group about the level of risk of repeal with regard to combat readiness.” The Chiefs will provide their perspective to Congress on Friday.

“This can be done — and should be done — without posing a serious risk to military readiness. However…an abundance of care and preparation is required if we are to avoid a disruptive and potentially dangerous impact on the performance of those serving at the tip of the spear in America’s wars.”

Gates: “I strongly urge the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the President for signature before the end of this year.” Implementation is still vague.

Admiral Mullen: Working Group focused its finding most directly on those who would be affected “our people.” Chiefs and I met with President yesterday. Three points: 1) Leadership is key to successful repeal….we in uniform have obligation to follow orders. 2) we’ve heard loud and clear that our troops expect us to keep high standards. We treat people with dignity and respect in the armed forces. We’ll hold ourselves to “impeccably high standards”; 3) repeal is not without challenges. Want repeal to come about through legislation, not the courts.

UPDATE @ 2:34 PM: In the Q & A: Kerry Eleveld asks about McCain’s characterization of this being “the wrong report.” Gates: I think …in this respect, and I obviously have a lot of admiration and respect for Senator McCain, but in this respect I think that he’s mistaken. I think that this report does provide a sound basis for making decisions on this law.”

Gates: “the repeal of the law, would not, as I understand it…until, we certify, til the President, Sec. of Def and Chair of Joint Chiefs certify that the U.S. military is ready to implement the law, the repeal, Currently existing rules would continue to apply”

Before concluding, Gates said on personal integrity: A policy or a law that requires people, in effect requires people to lie, gives me a problem” and “A policy that requires people to lie about themselves somehow seems to me fundamentally flawed.”

Below are the statements from DOD General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and U.S. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham.
Statements of Pentagon’s DADT study authors

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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