Gates to Make Military Discharge for Being Gay More Difficult

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is going to make it tougher for U.S. military personnel to get kicked out of the military for being gay by having each case reviewed by more senior-ranking officers, a senior defense official tells Fox News.

The official says the new guidelines will say firing enlisted service members must be approved by an officer at the level of a one-star general or higher. Third party "outing" testimony should be given under oath as well.

Gates had asked Pentagon lawyers to look into a way of more humanely enforcing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, while the Department of Defense conducts a comprehensive review of what the potential impact of a change in policy would be on a force fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The more detailed review is due by Dec. 1.

Officials say the hope is fairly and consistently enforcing the existing law across military branches, and eliminating weak testimony given by third parties.

Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen are expected to talk about these changes with Pentagon reporters on Thursday morning.

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.