The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff supports the compromise plan to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell," he told a group of serviceman Wednesday.
Adm. Mike Mullen said the proposed legislation "preserves my prerogative" to sign off on any changes, according to the American Services Press Service.
Under the plan, Congress would vote to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military, but the changes would only go into effect after the Pentagon finishes a study of the issue and both Mullen and Defense Secretary Bob Gates give their stamp of approval.
The chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force all wrote letters Wednesday opposing the plan, arguing that passing legislation before the study is complete would be inappropriate.
But Mullen said the legislation has "very clear language" providing a "certification trigger" before the repeal goes into effect.
“That trigger is to certify whether we should move ahead with that change, even if the law were to repeal it,” he said.