Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that Mr. Gates and Adm. Mullen "have been and continue to work on an implementation plan for ultimately achieving the president's goal of repealing 'don't ask, don't tell.'"
"Next week they will share that plan with Congress," he said.
A defense official said the two men wouldn't provide Congress with a formal proposal for legislation repealing the controversial ban. Instead, the official said Mr. Gates and Adm. Mullen would outline the preparations the department was making so it would be able to offer guidance to Congress.
President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to repeal the ban and reiterated that vow in Wednesday's State of the Union address. Still, it is far from clear that a repeal bill would have enough political support to pass the divided Congress. A current House bill that would repeal the legislation has 187 supporters, leaving it 31 votes short of the 218 needed to ensure passage. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) supports eliminating the restriction, but lawmakers have yet to introduce a Senate bill to repeal the law.
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