Pentagon moves up DADT survey release

PENTAGON MOVES UP DADT SURVEY RELEASE…. With U.S. military leaders increasingly at odds with congressional Republicans over a variety of defense-related policies, it’s worth remembering New START isn’t the only point of contention.

The Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs also want to see the GOP drop their filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act, a spending bill that funds U.S. troops, including its provision on repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. To that end, the Pentagon is expediting — just a little — the release of its DADT survey.

Signaling the growing seriousness of the Obama administration’s commitment this year to ending the military’s ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, the Defense Department said Sunday that it will release a long-awaited report on the matter earlier than planned because senators are eager to vote on whether to repeal the policy.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the report to be released on Nov. 30, one day earlier than planned, “to support Congress’s wish to consider repeal before they adjourn,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Sunday. […]

Gates “has instructed his staff, without cutting any corners, to have everything ready a day sooner because he wants to ensure members of the Armed Services Committee are able to read and consider the complex, lengthy report before holding hearings with its authors and the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Morrell said in a statement.

Now, a fair amount of the report’s findings have already been leaked, and based on these accounts, it appears the Pentagon found that servicemen and women are comfortable with ending the existing DADT policy, and that its repeal would not undermine military readiness, unit cohesion, or morale.

But Senate leaders, most notably Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), have promised a hearing to review the results of the Pentagon’s findings — results that some Senate Republicans have said will dictate whether they allow the chamber to vote on the troop-funding bill as-is or not.

The hope, apparently, is that by giving senators an additional day, the chamber will have a little more time to read the report, hold a hearing, and vote on the bill. And the larger point, of course, is that Pentagon leaders really want to see the Senate get this done fairly soon — as in, during the lame-duck session.

To date, Senate Republicans have been inclined to ignore the military leaders’ pleas. After Nov. 30, that may prove to be more difficult.