Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley is upset the Army wasn’t given enough time to implement policies and education following the repeal of the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military, and now 10 soldiers have come forward with official requests to change their gender.
In late June, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter removed the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military. Now, several months later, soldiers are lining up to be recognized as a different gender, The Associated Press reports.
Milley acknowledged that the service isn’t quite ready to accommodate transgenders, though he said the Army is powering forward with aggressive education efforts to get up to speed.
“Is the Army ready? Well, we are educating ourselves, and we are trying to get ready,” Milley told The Associated Press. “We’re well-past the issue of debating and arguing about transgender. We are now into execution, to make sure the program is carried out with diligence, dignity, respect.”
But Milley was flat-out displeased with the pace of the decision, as he had asked for more time.
“The issue to do it or not to do it, to me is not an issue – the answer is yes,” Milley said. “The question of how to do it so that it is deliberate, well thought out, executed with professionalism – that’s a horse of a different color. Frankly I asked for more time.”
The Pentagon’s policy on transgenders came into effect Oct. 1 and guidance was released to the services shortly after, which hasn’t allowed the military much time to shift into gear.
Full training and education programs have to be created by November 1 to inform troops and commanders of their rights and responsibilities. By July 2017, the force needs to have undergone this education in time for new transgender troops to enlist.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but there are some things I don’t think you need to necessarily be trained on,” Milley said. “Rule One is treat your soldiers, your subordinates, your peers and your superiors as you want to be treated. Treat everybody with dignity and respect. Period. Flat out. Full stop.”
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