Michael Mullen Hub

Pentagon Gives Military Chaplains Green Light On Gay Marriage

Armyhands One of the most contentious issues about Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal has revolved around marriage equality.

Though at least one branch of the armed services, the Navy, said it would allow gay marriages after the discriminatory law's repeal, which happened on September 20th, officials later said "no go" to such events.

Now, the Pentagon announced today that military chaplains are free to preside over same-sex nuptials, both on and off government bases.

From The Washington Post:

Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The Pentagon says a military chaplain may officiate at any private ceremony, but isn’t required if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs.

The Pentagon also says Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as it’s not prohibited by state or local laws.

Meanwhile, in related news, outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen told NPR's Steve Inskeep that there have been no problems since DADT's repeal, though admits there are still many wrinkles to be ironed out, especially in terms of normalizing benefits.

"The question I get is about benefits. And there are some benefits, clearly, that are -– that accrue to the change which has already taken place, and there are other benefits which are brought up which are directly tied to DOMA, which is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a law in the country -– and we follow the law," he said.

"And until -– if and when that changes –- I mean, we’ll follow whatever law is out there. Right now -– so there are benefits that DOMA has tied up by virtue of what -– the details that it specifically lays out and so until that changes, there’s not going to be any change to the benefits."

Listen to audio of Mullen and Inskeep's chat, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pentagon Gives Military Chaplains Green Light On Gay Marriage" »

Coalition Forces Launch Second Day Of Airstrikes On Libya, Gaddafi Promises 'Long War'

On a second day of air strikes led by the United States, United Kingdom and France, Muammar Gaddafi issued a statement condemning the attacks and promising a “long war." In a phone call to state-owned television station, he said: "These are only terrorist actions, but those who will succeed are those who belong to the land, the one on the land is the one who will win the conflict. You are unjust, you are the aggressors, you are beasts, you are criminals. Your countries are against you. There are protests everywhere in Europe, in America against the steps you're taking against the innocent Libyan people. The people are with us, even your people are with us. All the people on earth are against you. You will fail like how Hitler failed, Napoleon failed, Mussolini failed. All tyrants fall under the feet of the people. This is the era of the people and the great Gaddafi revolution."

Meetthepress On this morning's Meet The Press, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs Mike Mullen said the coalition of forces could reach its goals without ousting Gaddafi from power: "(Mullen) described the campaign's aims as 'limited' saying it 'isn't about seeing him (Gadhafi) go.' Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Mullen was asked whether it was possible that the mission's goals could be achieved while leaving Gadhafi in power. 'That's certainly potentially one outcome,' he replied."

Watch Mullen's appearance on Meet The Press, AFTER THE JUMP.

First day of airstrikes: "The U.S. military said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force. French fighter jets fired the first salvos, carrying out several strikes in the rebel-held east, while British fighter jets also bombarded the North African nation."

Michael Moore has criticized the US's involvement in the crisis: "We have neither the troops, stomach, or $$ to fight a ground war for months/years to defeat (Moammar Gadhafi)."

The 22 nation Arab League, which initially supported the no-fly zone issued last week, has issued a statement denouncing the recent airstrikes: What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.

Al Jazeera has a rundown of the events that took place yesterday, the first day of Operation Odyssey Dawn.

The New York Times has a great interactive map about the situation on its site.

A video released by the US Navy of tomahawk missiles being launched from the Mediterranean Sea, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Coalition Forces Launch Second Day Of Airstrikes On Libya, Gaddafi Promises 'Long War'" »

Watch: Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen Tells Jon Stewart Why He Testified Against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen, who last year gave a powerful speech before the Senate Armed Services Committee about why "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should go, talks to Jon Stewart about his speech and about the repeal of the military gay ban.

He also talks about his long years of service and the gays that he knew during that time.


Continue reading "Watch: Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen Tells Jon Stewart Why He Testified Against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" »

Gates, Mullen to Discuss Pentagon DADT Report with Congress

Read the AP's prelude to today's release of the Pentagon report:

Military Officials familiar with the 10-month study's results have said a clear majority of respondents don't care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings hadn't been released. 

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who have both said they support repealing the law, were scheduled to discuss the findings with Congress Tuesday morning and with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

What to expect:

Democrats and gay rights groups counter that the study finally proves what they've known anecdotally for years: Most troops would accept an openly gay person in their units.

"It's what we expected. The atmosphere in the active-duty has changed," said a gay Air Force officer and co-founder of the advocacy group OutServe. The officer uses the pseudonym "JD Smith" to protect his identity.

The survey is based on responses by some 115,000 troops and 44,200 military spouses to more than a half million questionnaires distributed last summer. The study group, led by Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham, also visited various military bases and held town hall-style meetings with service members.

Joint Chiefs Chair Mullen: U.S. 'Clearly Not Leading' on Civil Rights

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen is lauded in GQ's  Men of the Year issue.

Ana Marie Cox asks him about many of the issues facing the military today, including the impending repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" which he spoke out for earlier this year before the Senate.

Mullen In your "Don't ask, don't tell" testimony earlier this year, you argued that the policy is a threat to morale, because it undermines the honor and integrity of soldiers. What led you to that line of thinking?

I have a very difficult time leading an organization—one of whose pillars is integrity—and asking people to lie every single day they come to work.

It is widely accepted that the army's decision to integrate pushed the culture at large closer to acceptance of civil rights. Do you think a repeal of DADT could have a similar effect?

On the issue of integration, the military led society. With respect to this issue, we're clearly not leading. There are many institutions throughout the country that have made this decision some time ago. So in terms of the direct comparison? I'd say that back then the military was in the lead, and right now I think society is in the lead.

What do you think is the biggest practical obstacle to repeal?

Actually, I don't know that at this point. There are a bunch of areas that have to be resolved: housing benefits, those kinds of things. What I'm most concerned about is whether or not a change like this would impact readiness or unit cohesion, retention, or recruiting. Those are the areas that we're focused on. I just don't know the answers yet. But if the law changes, there's no question we'll follow it. Absolutely.

Here is Mullen's statement at DADT hearings earlier this year, if you missed it.

Gates: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Report Will Be Available One Day Early

In a move to help expedite the time-crunched process in which the lame duck session must move DADT repeal legislation to its ultimate vote, the Pentagon has said it will release its report one day early, the Washington Post reports:

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

The Senate is slated to vote again on a defense policy bill that includes language that would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy after the Thanksgiving recess. The measure did not advance in September. Several senators asked Gates last week to release the report early so the Senate Armed Services Committee could hold hearings on it before the full Senate votes. Several moderate senators have said they will not decide how to vote until they read the report.

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.

Those who have seen the report says its results reveal that most troops will have no problem serving openly.

Over the weekend, Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen made the rounds on Sunday talk shows and asserted that Marine Commandant James Amos, who has expressed opposition to the repeal in recent weeks, would have no choice but to follow the directive of the military with regard to DADT, a measure, Mullen said "belies us an institution."


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