Defense Secretary Robert Gates is taking a cautious approach to ending the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy on gays in the military.
"If we do it, it's imperative that we do it right and very carefully," Gates said Thursday on way to speak at the Army War College.
Gates said that changing the policy would be very difficult and could take years.
"It's very difficult. To get peoples' real feelings about it you have to have almost a one-on-one private conversation," he said. "I think it's very difficult for people to speak in front of their peers about this issue."
During his campaign, President Obama pledged to end the policy,"which forbids gays from openly serving in the military.
Gates said he's discussed the issue with the President, but has not taken a stance on whether it should be changed.