Tagged: public

0

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service members, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the issue.

The defense secretary was scheduled to brief the president Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed and will occur soon, officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. Dana White, a spokeswoman for Mattis, said the secretary will provide his recommendation to Trump this week and the president will make an announcement at some point afterward.

Officials at the White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the recommendations until Mattis delivers his plan.

“This is a complex issue, and the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given,” White told reporters Thursday. “It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality.”

Trump surprised many Pentagon officials on July 26 by issuing a string of tweets in which he said he was banning all transgender people from the military, despite not having a plan in place. Trump tweeted that he had reached his decision “after consultation with my Generals and military experts,” citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” he believed it would cause.

Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, moved afterward to stop any changes from taking place until a new policy was adopted, and Mattis backed the move. The Obama administration began allowing transgender people to openly serve[1] in the military in June 2016, prompting some people to come out for the first time.

It’s unclear whether Trump will adopt Mattis’s recommendations, which the president requested[2] in an Aug. 25 executive order. Trump directed the military at the time to “return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016,” but left an opening under which Mattis could advise him in writing on changing Trump’s new policy. The order gave Mattis until Wednesday to establish a plan.

A Rand Corp. study[3] commissioned by the Pentagon ahead of its 2016 policy change found that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members among 1.3 million people on active duty — less than 1 percent of the force. The study concluded that it would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to treat them annually, a “relatively small” amount. Mattis questioned last year whether the numbers in the Rand study were accurate, but said he wanted to study the issue further.

It is not clear how Mattis’s recommendations will address how transgender recruits are processed.

Before the Obama administration’s policy change, the Pentagon for years considered gender dysphoria a disqualifying mental illness. The policy adopted in 2016 banned the services from involuntarily separating people in the military who came out as transgender, and gave the Pentagon a year to determine how to begin processing transgender recruits.

But Mattis delayed allowing transgender recruits for an additional six months as the deadline neared. The decision “in no way presupposes an outcome,” but needed additional study, Mattis wrote at the time. Trump issued his ban on Twitter a few weeks later.

Since then, the Trump administration has been challenged in lawsuits, and federal judges required the Pentagon to open the military to transgender recruits beginning Jan. 1. The Pentagon indicated in December that it would not stand in the way of the court’s ruling and issued new policy guidance to recruiters[4] on how to enlist transgender men and women.

The policy paper “shall remain in effect until expressly revoked,” the memorandum said. Allowing transgender people to serve in the military is “mandatory,” it added, repeating Dunford’s earlier directive that all people will be “treated with dignity and respect.”

Dunford, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last fall, said transgender troops already in the military have served with honor.

“I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving, should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” he said.

He added that he would continue to advise Trump that transgender service members who follow rules and regulations should not be ejected on the basis of their gender identity.

“Senator, I can promise that that will be my advice,” he said, in response to a question from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “What I’ve just articulated is the advice I’ve provided in private, and I’ve just provided in public.”

References

  1. ^ began allowing transgender people to openly serve (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ requested (www.whitehouse.gov)
  3. ^ Rand Corp. study (www.rand.org)
  4. ^ issued new policy guidance to recruiters (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service members, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the issue.

The defense secretary was scheduled to brief the president Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed and will occur soon, officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. Dana White, a spokeswoman for Mattis, said the secretary will provide his recommendation to Trump this week and the president will make an announcement at some point afterward.

Officials at the White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the recommendations until Mattis delivers his plan.

“This is a complex issue, and the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given,” White told reporters Thursday. “It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality.”

Trump surprised many Pentagon officials on July 26 by issuing a string of tweets in which he said he was banning all transgender people from the military, despite not having a plan in place. Trump tweeted that he had reached his decision “after consultation with my Generals and military experts,” citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” he believed it would cause.

Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, moved afterward to stop any changes from taking place until a new policy was adopted, and Mattis backed the move. The Obama administration began allowing transgender people to openly serve[1] in the military in June 2016, prompting some people to come out for the first time.

It’s unclear whether Trump will adopt Mattis’s recommendations, which the president requested[2] in an Aug. 25 executive order. Trump directed the military at the time to “return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016,” but left an opening under which Mattis could advise him in writing on changing Trump’s new policy. The order gave Mattis until Wednesday to establish a plan.

A Rand Corp. study[3] commissioned by the Pentagon ahead of its 2016 policy change found that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members among 1.3 million people on active duty — less than 1 percent of the force. The study concluded that it would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to treat them annually, a “relatively small” amount. Mattis questioned last year whether the numbers in the Rand study were accurate, but said he wanted to study the issue further.

It is not clear how Mattis’s recommendations will address how transgender recruits are processed.

Before the Obama administration’s policy change, the Pentagon for years considered gender dysphoria a disqualifying mental illness. The policy adopted in 2016 banned the services from involuntarily separating people in the military who came out as transgender, and gave the Pentagon a year to determine how to begin processing transgender recruits.

But Mattis delayed allowing transgender recruits for an additional six months as the deadline neared. The decision “in no way presupposes an outcome,” but needed additional study, Mattis wrote at the time. Trump issued his ban on Twitter a few weeks later.

Since then, the Trump administration has been challenged in lawsuits, and federal judges required the Pentagon to open the military to transgender recruits beginning Jan. 1. The Pentagon indicated in December that it would not stand in the way of the court’s ruling and issued new policy guidance to recruiters[4] on how to enlist transgender men and women.

The policy paper “shall remain in effect until expressly revoked,” the memorandum said. Allowing transgender people to serve in the military is “mandatory,” it added, repeating Dunford’s earlier directive that all people will be “treated with dignity and respect.”

Dunford, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last fall, said transgender troops already in the military have served with honor.

“I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving, should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” he said.

He added that he would continue to advise Trump that transgender service members who follow rules and regulations should not be ejected on the basis of their gender identity.

“Senator, I can promise that that will be my advice,” he said, in response to a question from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “What I’ve just articulated is the advice I’ve provided in private, and I’ve just provided in public.”

References

  1. ^ began allowing transgender people to openly serve (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ requested (www.whitehouse.gov)
  3. ^ Rand Corp. study (www.rand.org)
  4. ^ issued new policy guidance to recruiters (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service members, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the issue.

The defense secretary was scheduled to brief the president Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed and will occur soon, officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. Dana White, a spokeswoman for Mattis, said the secretary will provide his recommendation to Trump this week and the president will make an announcement at some point afterward.

Officials at the White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the recommendations until Mattis delivers his plan.

“This is a complex issue, and the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given,” White told reporters Thursday. “It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality.”

Trump surprised many Pentagon officials on July 26 by issuing a string of tweets in which he said he was banning all transgender people from the military, despite not having a plan in place. Trump tweeted that he had reached his decision “after consultation with my Generals and military experts,” citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” he believed it would cause.

Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, moved afterward to stop any changes from taking place until a new policy was adopted, and Mattis backed the move. The Obama administration began allowing transgender people to openly serve[1] in the military in June 2016, prompting some people to come out for the first time.

It’s unclear whether Trump will adopt Mattis’s recommendations, which the president requested[2] in an Aug. 25 executive order. Trump directed the military at the time to “return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016,” but left an opening under which Mattis could advise him in writing on changing Trump’s new policy. The order gave Mattis until Wednesday to establish a plan.

A Rand Corp. study[3] commissioned by the Pentagon ahead of its 2016 policy change found that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members among 1.3 million people on active duty — less than 1 percent of the force. The study concluded that it would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to treat them annually, a “relatively small” amount. Mattis questioned last year whether the numbers in the Rand study were accurate, but said he wanted to study the issue further.

It is not clear how Mattis’s recommendations will address how transgender recruits are processed.

Before the Obama administration’s policy change, the Pentagon for years considered gender dysphoria a disqualifying mental illness. The policy adopted in 2016 banned the services from involuntarily separating people in the military who came out as transgender, and gave the Pentagon a year to determine how to begin processing transgender recruits.

But Mattis delayed allowing transgender recruits for an additional six months as the deadline neared. The decision “in no way presupposes an outcome,” but needed additional study, Mattis wrote at the time. Trump issued his ban on Twitter a few weeks later.

Since then, the Trump administration has been challenged in lawsuits, and federal judges required the Pentagon to open the military to transgender recruits beginning Jan. 1. The Pentagon indicated in December that it would not stand in the way of the court’s ruling and issued new policy guidance to recruiters[4] on how to enlist transgender men and women.

The policy paper “shall remain in effect until expressly revoked,” the memorandum said. Allowing transgender people to serve in the military is “mandatory,” it added, repeating Dunford’s earlier directive that all people will be “treated with dignity and respect.”

Dunford, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last fall, said transgender troops already in the military have served with honor.

“I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving, should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” he said.

He added that he would continue to advise Trump that transgender service members who follow rules and regulations should not be ejected on the basis of their gender identity.

“Senator, I can promise that that will be my advice,” he said, in response to a question from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “What I’ve just articulated is the advice I’ve provided in private, and I’ve just provided in public.”

References

  1. ^ began allowing transgender people to openly serve (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ requested (www.whitehouse.gov)
  3. ^ Rand Corp. study (www.rand.org)
  4. ^ issued new policy guidance to recruiters (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the issue.

The defense secretary was scheduled to brief the president on Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed and will occur soon, officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. Dana White, a spokeswoman for Mattis, said the secretary will meet with Trump this week and the president will make an announcement at some point afterward.

Officials at the White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the recommendations until Mattis delivers his plan.

“This is a complex issue, and the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given,” White told reporters Thursday. “It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality.”

Trump surprised many Pentagon officials on July 26 by issuing a string of tweets in which he said he was banning all transgender people from the military, despite not having a plan in place. Trump tweeted that he had reached his decision “after consultation with my Generals and military experts,” citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” he believed it would cause.

Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, moved afterward to stop any changes from taking place until a new policy was adopted, and Mattis backed the move. The Obama administration began allowing transgender people to openly serve[1] in the military in June 2016, prompting some people to come out for the first time.

It’s unclear whether Trump will adopt Mattis’s recommendations, which the president requested[2] in an Aug. 25 executive order. Trump directed the military at the time to “return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016,” but left an opening under which Mattis could advise him in writing on changing Trump’s new policy. The order gave Mattis until Wednesday to establish a plan.

A Rand Corp. study[3] commissioned by the Pentagon ahead of its 2016 policy change found that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members among 1.3 million people on active duty — less than 1 percent of the force. The study concluded that it would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to treat them annually, a “relatively small” amount. Mattis questioned last year whether the numbers in the Rand study were accurate, but said he wanted to study the issue further.

It is not clear how Mattis’s recommendations will address another issue: What to do with transgender recruits.

Before the Obama administration’s policy change, the Pentagon for years considered gender dysphoria, the medical term for wanting to transition gender, a disqualifying mental illness. The policy adopted in 2016 banned the services from involuntarily separating people in the military who came out as transgender, and gave the Pentagon a year to determine how to begin processing transgender recruits.

But Mattis delayed allowing transgender recruits for an additional six months as the deadline neared. The decision “in no way presupposes an outcome,” but needed additional study, Mattis wrote at the time. Trump issued his ban on Twitter a few weeks later.

Since then, the Trump administration has been challenged in lawsuits, and federal judges required the Pentagon to open the military to transgender recruits beginning Jan. 1. The Pentagon indicated in December that it would not stand in the way of the court’s ruling, and issued new policy guidance to recruiters[4] on how to enlist transgender men and women.

The policy paper “shall remain in effect until expressly revoked,” the memorandum said. Allowing transgender military service is “mandatory,” it added, repeating Dunford’s earlier directive that all people will be “treated with dignity and respect.”

Dunford, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last fall, said transgender troops already in the military have served with honor.

“I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving, should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” he said.

He added that he would continue to advise Trump that transgender service members who follow rules and regulations should not be ejected on the basis of their gender identity.

“Senator, I can promise that that will be my advice,” he said, in response to a question from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “What I’ve just articulated is the advice I’ve provided in private, and I’ve just provided in public.”

References

  1. ^ began allowing transgender people to openly serve (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ requested (www.whitehouse.gov)
  3. ^ Rand Corp. study (www.rand.org)
  4. ^ issued new policy guidance to recruiters (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Mattis faces deadline today on the military's transgender policy

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis faced a Wednesday deadline[1] to provide President Donald Trump guidance on transgender service members, as news reports surfaced revealing that the president initiated the ban last summer without consulting his top general.

“Things are at a very confusing moment right now,” said Shannon Minter, who is representing transgender personnel in two of the four federal lawsuits[2] challenging Trump’s ban.

“When President Trump issued his official memorandum[3] [in August of 2017] he ordered Mattis in that memo to provide the president with a written plan on how to implement the plan by Feb 21. So we’ve all been waiting, It’s obviously an important recommendation on exactly how the plan would be implemented.”

Mattis was directed to have the Pentagon study whether transgender personnel negatively impacted readiness and provide the White House guidance on whether Trump’s July ban should be reversed.

“The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted,” Trump said in the August 2017 memo.
[4]

As of midday Wednesday the Pentagon had not issued guidance, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. David Eastburn.

“The secretary has his recommendation for the President but has not provided it yet. When he’s ready to provide it, he will,” Eastburn said.

The guidance is not expected to be made public, several defense officials told Military Times.

Sign up for the Good News
All positive stories about the military
Thanks for signing up!

It was not clear if on that date the White House would also make Mattis’ February recommendations public. In addition, parts of Trump’s August directive have already been overturned in the courts, further muddying what exactly the transgender policy will be.

In the August memo, Trump also directed that no new transgender recruits be allowed to enlist in the military, upending earlier direction from Mattis that set a six-month delay that expired Jan. 1. Multiple federal courts have also ruled against that limitation, and transgender personnel were allowed to join the military as of Jan. 1, 2018.

In a statement issued in late December as the Jan. 1 ban expired, the Justice Department pointed to the anticipated guidance, supported by a study Mattis directed last August, as reason not to further pursue that angle of the ban.
[6]

The courts are still weighing in on the wider issue of whether any restrictions on transgender service are constitutional. In the two federal cases that Minter is involved with, administration attorneys have pointed to the anticipated policy from Mattis as a reason for delay. The cases are also in a heated discovery phase where attorneys for the transgender plaintiffs are trying to determine on what basis Trump made his July decision, and in consultation with whom.

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

On Wednesday BuzzFeed reported on emails it obtained that it said showed that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford was not consulted and caught off guard by the tweet, In subsequent memos to service members and in Congressional testimony Dunford has repeatedly said[7] “any individual who meets the physical and mental standards … should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”

Dunford spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder would not confirm whether the emails BuzzFeed obtained were authentic, stating that “because there is ongoing litigation regarding DoD policy on transgender accessions, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time on questions related to actual or alleged internal DoD correspondence.”

Meanwhile, the first new transgender recruits are getting closer to enlisting, Minter said. Nicolas Talbott,[8] 24, is one of the plaintiffs Minter is representing. Talbott has completed all of the medical paperwork necessary, including verification that he has had 18 months of stability after transitioning to a male.

“Next step is to schedule the MEPS,” Minter said.

References

  1. ^ Wednesday deadline (www.militarytimes.com)
  2. ^ in two of the four federal lawsuits (www.militarytimes.com)
  3. ^ official memorandum (www.militarytimes.com)
  4. ^ Trump said in the August 2017 memo. (www.whitehouse.gov)
  5. ^ This young man is transgender, and ready to enlist Jan. 1 (www.militarytimes.com)
  6. ^ Mattis directed last August, (www.militarytimes.com)
  7. ^ Dunford has repeatedly said (www.militarytimes.com)
  8. ^ Nicolas Talbott, (www.militarytimes.com)
0

Mattis faces deadline today on the military's transgender policy

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis faced a Wednesday deadline[1] to provide President Donald Trump guidance on transgender service members, as news reports surfaced revealing that the president initiated the ban last summer without consulting his top general.

“Things are at a very confusing moment right now,” said Shannon Minter, who is representing transgender personnel in two of the four federal lawsuits[2] challenging Trump’s ban.

“When President Trump issued his official memorandum[3] [in August of 2017] he ordered Mattis in that memo to provide the president with a written plan on how to implement the plan by Feb 21. So we’ve all been waiting, It’s obviously an important recommendation on exactly how the plan would be implemented.”

Mattis was directed to have the Pentagon study whether transgender personnel negatively impacted readiness and provide the White House guidance on whether Trump’s July ban should be reversed.

“The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted,” Trump said in the August 2017 memo.
[4]

As of midday Wednesday the Pentagon had not issued guidance, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. David Eastburn.

“The secretary has his recommendation for the President but has not provided it yet. When he’s ready to provide it, he will,” Eastburn said.

The guidance is not expected to be made public, several defense officials told Military Times.

Sign up for the Good News
All positive stories about the military
Thanks for signing up!

It was not clear if on that date the White House would also make Mattis’ February recommendations public. In addition, parts of Trump’s August directive have already been overturned in the courts, further muddying what exactly the transgender policy will be.

In the August memo, Trump also directed that no new transgender recruits be allowed to enlist in the military, upending earlier direction from Mattis that set a six-month delay that expired Jan. 1. Multiple federal courts have also ruled against that limitation, and transgender personnel were allowed to join the military as of Jan. 1, 2018.

In a statement issued in late December as the Jan. 1 ban expired, the Justice Department pointed to the anticipated guidance, supported by a study Mattis directed last August, as reason not to further pursue that angle of the ban.
[6]

The courts are still weighing in on the wider issue of whether any restrictions on transgender service are constitutional. In the two federal cases that Minter is involved with, administration attorneys have pointed to the anticipated policy from Mattis as a reason for delay. The cases are also in a heated discovery phase where attorneys for the transgender plaintiffs are trying to determine on what basis Trump made his July decision, and in consultation with whom.

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

On Wednesday BuzzFeed reported on emails it obtained that it said showed that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford was not consulted and caught off guard by the tweet, In subsequent memos to service members and in Congressional testimony Dunford has repeatedly said[7] “any individual who meets the physical and mental standards … should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”

Dunford spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder would not confirm whether the emails BuzzFeed obtained were authentic, stating that “because there is ongoing litigation regarding DoD policy on transgender accessions, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time on questions related to actual or alleged internal DoD correspondence.”

Meanwhile, the first new transgender recruits are getting closer to enlisting, Minter said. Nicolas Talbott,[8] 24, is one of the plaintiffs Minter is representing. Talbott has completed all of the medical paperwork necessary, including verification that he has had 18 months of stability after transitioning to a male.

“Next step is to schedule the MEPS,” Minter said.

References

  1. ^ Wednesday deadline (www.militarytimes.com)
  2. ^ in two of the four federal lawsuits (www.militarytimes.com)
  3. ^ official memorandum (www.militarytimes.com)
  4. ^ Trump said in the August 2017 memo. (www.whitehouse.gov)
  5. ^ This young man is transgender, and ready to enlist Jan. 1 (www.militarytimes.com)
  6. ^ Mattis directed last August, (www.militarytimes.com)
  7. ^ Dunford has repeatedly said (www.militarytimes.com)
  8. ^ Nicolas Talbott, (www.militarytimes.com)
0

Mattis faces deadline today on the military's transgender policy

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis faced a Wednesday deadline[1] to provide President Donald Trump guidance on transgender service members, as news reports surfaced revealing that the president initiated the ban last summer without consulting his top general.

“Things are at a very confusing moment right now,” said Shannon Minter, who is representing transgender personnel in two of the four federal lawsuits[2] challenging Trump’s ban.

“When President Trump issued his official memorandum[3] [in August of 2017] he ordered Mattis in that memo to provide the president with a written plan on how to implement the plan by Feb 21. So we’ve all been waiting, It’s obviously an important recommendation on exactly how the plan would be implemented.”

Mattis was directed to have the Pentagon study whether transgender personnel negatively impacted readiness and provide the White House guidance on whether Trump’s July ban should be reversed.

“The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted,” Trump said in the August 2017 memo.
[4]

As of midday Wednesday the Pentagon had not issued guidance, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. David Eastburn.

“The secretary has his recommendation for the President but has not provided it yet. When he’s ready to provide it, he will,” Eastburn said.

The guidance is not expected to be made public, several defense officials told Military Times.

Sign up for the Good News
All positive stories about the military
Thanks for signing up!

It was not clear if on that date the White House would also make Mattis’ February recommendations public. In addition, parts of Trump’s August directive have already been overturned in the courts, further muddying what exactly the transgender policy will be.

In the August memo, Trump also directed that no new transgender recruits be allowed to enlist in the military, upending earlier direction from Mattis that set a six-month delay that expired Jan. 1. Multiple federal courts have also ruled against that limitation, and transgender personnel were allowed to join the military as of Jan. 1, 2018.

In a statement issued in late December as the Jan. 1 ban expired, the Justice Department pointed to the anticipated guidance, supported by a study Mattis directed last August, as reason not to further pursue that angle of the ban.
[6]

The courts are still weighing in on the wider issue of whether any restrictions on transgender service are constitutional. In the two federal cases that Minter is involved with, administration attorneys have pointed to the anticipated policy from Mattis as a reason for delay. The cases are also in a heated discovery phase where attorneys for the transgender plaintiffs are trying to determine on what basis Trump made his July decision, and in consultation with whom.

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In this July 29, 2017, photo, transgender U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform during an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen, near Regensburg, Germany. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

On Wednesday BuzzFeed reported on emails it obtained that it said showed that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford was not consulted and caught off guard by the tweet, In subsequent memos to service members and in Congressional testimony Dunford has repeatedly said[7] “any individual who meets the physical and mental standards … should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”

Dunford spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder would not confirm whether the emails BuzzFeed obtained were authentic, stating that “because there is ongoing litigation regarding DoD policy on transgender accessions, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time on questions related to actual or alleged internal DoD correspondence.”

Meanwhile, the first new transgender recruits are getting closer to enlisting, Minter said. Nicolas Talbott,[8] 24, is one of the plaintiffs Minter is representing. Talbott has completed all of the medical paperwork necessary, including verification that he has had 18 months of stability after transitioning to a male.

“Next step is to schedule the MEPS,” Minter said.

References

  1. ^ Wednesday deadline (www.militarytimes.com)
  2. ^ in two of the four federal lawsuits (www.militarytimes.com)
  3. ^ official memorandum (www.militarytimes.com)
  4. ^ Trump said in the August 2017 memo. (www.whitehouse.gov)
  5. ^ This young man is transgender, and ready to enlist Jan. 1 (www.militarytimes.com)
  6. ^ Mattis directed last August, (www.militarytimes.com)
  7. ^ Dunford has repeatedly said (www.militarytimes.com)
  8. ^ Nicolas Talbott, (www.militarytimes.com)