Confirmation hearings are currently underway for Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Watch them LIVE HERE.
Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade reports on some written responses Hagel gave to advance policy questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Hagel reiterated his promise to commit to 'DADT' repeal and LGBT military families and move quickly on extending troop benefits currently prohibited by DOMA:
Since the time “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was lifted in September 2011, Pentagon officials have consistently said they’ve been reviewing the benefits that could be extended to gay service members. However, no action has been taken.
Hagel addressed this ongoing review at the Pentagon in response to a question on the status of this report and the timing when the group is expected to produce it.
“I understand that this review is not taking the form of a report, per se, but has involved assembling detailed information on individual benefits (including whether each such benefit might be made available under current law, and options for how to do so) to support decision making by the senior civilian and military leadership of the Department, and also that those decisions are currently under active consideration,” Hagel wrote. “If confirmed, I will review the work that has been undertaken during the course of the benefits review and will work closely with the Department of Defense civilian and military leadership to move forward expeditiously on this issue.”
Johnson also says at least one protester shouted at Hagel prior to the hearings, telling him to make good on his promises.
We'll report on other developments as they come…