John McHugh is responsible for 1.1 million troops, 221,000 civilian employees, 213,000 contractors and a $200 billion (that’s a B) budget. That’s because McHugh is the Army Secretary, though the power he wields cannot be measured by those figures alone. But one measure of his influence is soon to arrive: How much pull he has in tearing down Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Which, he just revealed, he’s ready to do.
In an interview published yesterday in Army Times, McHugh says lifting DADT isn’t reason for concern at all. “Anytime you have a broad-based policy change, there are challenges to that. The Army has a big history of taking on similar issues, [with] predictions of doom and gloom that did not play out.”
This is a big. Freakin’. DEAL.
It’s not just that McHugh, nominated for the post in June, believes this — it’s that he is comfortable enough saying it on record. And let’s be sure: He didn’t make the statement without the authority of the White House. This makes him, as the Palm Center notes, the highest ranking person inside the Pentagon to declare the U.S. military is ready to kill DADT.
National Security Adviser Jim Jones has been punting. So, too, has Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen. But now we’ve got the guy who commands the Army, and who happens to be a former U.S. Congressman from a conservative New York district (elected nine terms in a row), saying that he’s ready to change things up if Obama and Congress give the go ahead.
Throw in incoming (hopeful) Under Secretary of Defense Dr. Clifford Stanley, and it appears the White House is lining up top military support for the policy’s demise.