"In the almost 17 years since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell said in a statement. "I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
President Obama said in last week's State of the Union address that he would put an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week announced a working group to "thoroughly, methodically and objectively" examine how to end it responsibly. Adm. Mike Mullen told Congress Tuesday that he personally supports ending the policy.
"I also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change," Mullen said.
In his statement today, Powell pointed out that he has said for the past two years that he thought it was time for the law to be reviewed and that "the principal issue has always been the effectiveness of the Armed Forces and order and discipline in the ranks."
Powell was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law went into effect in 1994.