WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates is telling troops not to be distracted by the political debate over gays serving openly in the military.

In a special videotaped message to the armed forces Friday, Gates says the military's review of how to implement a change in the "don't ask, don't tell" policy will go forward. He says nothing will change while the review continues and that it's more important than ever for men and women in uniform to help with the study so the policy change can be done right.

Officials say Gates wanted to speak directly to troops because of action on the issue on Capitol Hill. The Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures Thursday to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve only if they hide their sexual orientation.