"In the almost seventeen years since the don't-ask-don't-tell legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell, also a former U.S. secretary of state, said in a statement.
Powell added the decision on whether to repeal the policy ultimately rests with President Barack Obama, military leaders and the Congress, CNN reported.
His statement referred to testimony delivered to Congress Tuesday by current Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, in which he said, "Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do."
"I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by (Mullen). I will be closely following future hearings, the views of the service chiefs and the implementation work being done by the Department of Defense," CNN quoted Powell as saying.
Obama called for the law's repeal during his State of the Union last week.