An Obama administration effort to allow transgender citizens to serve in the U.S. military is undergoing an intense review by the Pentagon, Military Times reports.
Former President Barack Obama’s directive was issued in June 2016 and gave the services exactly one year to craft policy implementation. The Army and Marine Corps are reportedly the most resistant to the policy’s implementation, and the policy is reportedly now in a period of indefinite delay. The objections however appear to stem from logistical rather than idealogical concerns.
The logistical concerns include a lack of funding for upgraded group showers and changes to service-member’s living quarters. Military officials indicated to Military Times that a host of other procedural issues stood in the way of the policy’s implementation. “It’s not that we’re unsupportive or unwilling to implement it; just that there were administrative matters to be addressed,” the official clarified.
The delay was on full display after two cadets at U.S. service academies were not allowed to commission in their gender identity because no official policy guidance has been issued. One of the cadets from the Air Force Academy is being recommended for appointment to the Air Force civil service, where they can serve as a civilian employee of the Department of Defense.
Pentagon officials are also reviewing the amount of time a transgender military prospect must be in their gender identity before they are allowed to apply. Some officials are concerned the psychological effect of gender dysphoria could inhibit transgender applicants’ combat effectiveness.
Former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter specified that an applicant would have be to in a stable gender identity for a period of 18 months, but the Federal Aviation Administration requires pilot applicants to have been in theirs for five years.
The military has approximately 7,000 transgender service-members who cannot be discharged per the Obama administration’s guidance. A June 2016 Rand Corporation study found that additional health care for these service-members will cost taxpayers between 2.4 and 8.4 million dollars.
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