By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C.,  November 8, 2010 ( – The new commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps has signaled his opposition to any repeal of the law that bans open homosexuals from military service, saying that he is concerned about harm to the corps’ combat effectiveness.

Gen. James Amos told reporters in San Diego that the repeal of the 1993 law against homosexuals serving in the military and the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy would have harmful effects on U.S. Marines in this wartime footing.

“There is nothing more intimate than combat,” Amos said. “In the infantry, we are talking about young men laying out sleeping alongside one another and sharing death and fear and the loss of their brothers.

“There's risk involved,” Amos said about repeal of DADT. “I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”

Amos is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Gen. James Conway. Conway, along with U.S. Army Chief Gen. George Casey and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, told Senators back in February that he feared a repeal under the current wartime circumstances would disturb a military already suffering from the heavy strain of fighting two overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, both political appointees of President Barack Obama, have already expressed support for the ideology behind overturning the current law.

Gates formed the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) back in March to “consider how best to implement a repeal” of the 1993 law (10 U.S.C 654) – indicating that any consideration of retaining the law was out of the question.

The CRWG’s findings are set to be released in a December report, when Congress is in the lame duck session. The U.S. Senate will likely vote again on the $726 billion Defense Authorization Bill (FY 2011), which includes amendments overturning bans on homosexual service and abortion on military bases. So far, the bill has been held up by a GOP filibuster led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).