Washington (CNN) – One of President Obama’s top national security advisers gave his support Sunday to the eventual repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy governing gay and lesbian service members.
Appearing on State of the Union, Ret. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that he supported the positions laid out recently in congressional testimony by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Earlier this month, Gates informed Congress that the Pentagon is taking the first steps toward repealing the policy and Mullen said it was his personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly was the right thing to do.
“This is a policy that has to evolve with the social norms of what’s acceptable and what’s not. I think times have changed. I think I was very much taken by Adm. Mullen’s view that young men and women who wish to serve their country should not have to lie in order to do that,” Jones told Crowley. The Obama aide also noted that the president has signaled his desire to have the policy changed.
Jones also told Crowley that in his 40 years in the military, he’d seen similar changes in military policy where similar concerns about national security had been raised but proved to be unfounded.
“I’ve served my country in uniform since 1967,” Jones said. “In that period we’ve covered racial questions, racial integration. We’ve covered the integration of women into the armed forces. People suggested that that would be a national security problem if we did both of those things. Turned out be, as a matter of fact, a force multiplier by doing those things. And I grew up in a generation where people said that if you integrate members of the gay community, that will be a national security problem. That will probably prove itself to be false as well.”
“I think,” Jones also said Sunday, “that if I judge the response of the population to this [policy change] this is an idea that we will solve and we will solve responsibly.”
Jones served in the Marines from early 1967 until his retirement from active duty in early 2007.
Only Congress can repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In his first State of the Union address last month, President Obama called on Capitol Hill to get rid of the policy which dates from the Clinton administration in the early 1990’s.