The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he would have preferred that Congress had waited before voting to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.
A House vote on Friday was a step toward repealing the ban. But the vote also gives Pentagon until year's end to study how to make that happen.
A Senate committee approved the change Thursday, but the full Senate isn't expected to act for months.
Admiral Mike Mullen said that the congressional action does allow the Pentagon time to complete its plans to survey troops and their families, and then certify that the repeal won't hurt the military's ability to fight, as well as to recruit and retain soldiers.