The Pentagon bureaucracy is pushing for an end to the ban on transgender troops serving openly in the armed forces, but military officials think the administration is moving too fast and running roughshod over legitimate concerns about integration.
A repeal of the ban is expected in one or two days, but there are caveats attached to the new policy, namely that a medical provider likely needs to certify a gender dysphoric individual as having been stable in their new gender identity for 18 months. This individual also needs to be without social distress or impairment for that time period, The Associated Press reports.
In exchange, these dysphoric individuals will be able to use whatever bathroom that’s associated with their new gender identity and also fit under the physical standards of that gender. For instance, if a male legally transitions to a female, he can test according to female standards. He can also live in female housing, wear female uniforms and use female bathrooms.
The administration reportedly gave them an incredibly short timeline of 45 days to draw up how they were going to implement the policy and another 45 days to actually put the plan into practice, according to anonymous officials speaking to the Associated Press. These officials reportedly asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford to communicate to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that the military just needs more time to plan and prepare, as the existing draft policy is not nearly specific enough.
And that’s not simply an additional month. Rather, officials want to establish a panel and give that panel about a year to plan implementation. That request is unlikely to be granted.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller echoed these concerns, saying the services were given far more time to plan for the repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military. Plenty of time allowed the services to properly adjust.
The rapid timeline on transgender implementation follows a pattern in the Obama administration of trying to ram as much policy change through as possible before President Barack Obama leaves office. Guantanamo Bay is a prime example of an effort being pressed and pushed to fulfill Obama’s campaign promise in 2008 to shutter the facility. Integration of women into combat roles is yet another example.
Military officials are busy throwing up red flags, but Republicans in Congress have avoided the issue like the plague.
Mike Huckabee, former Republican Governor of Arkansas, has been somewhat of a lone voice in pushing back against the inclusion of transgenders in the military. In August 2015, Huckabee stated that “The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things.”
Also in 2015, Sen. Jim Inhofe, senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, merely raised the thorny issue of which bathroom transgenders would use. That problem is apparently now solved.
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