Defense

Senior Military Leaders Split With Trump On Transgender Troops In The Military

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Senior military leadership representing the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps argue that transgender service members do not negatively impact America’s armed services.

“Transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” President Donald Trump announced in a March 23 memo, “are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.” The decision followed a Department of Defense study and a memo to the president from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

“The Department of Defense concludes that there are substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender,” Mattis stated in his Feb. 22 memo. He explained that the Pentagon had formally concluded that the inclusion of transgender service members in the armed forces “could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion, and impose an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Speaking on the record before Congress, the heads of all four of the main service branches disagreed, according to Military Times.

Following in the footsteps of Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Marine Commandant General Robert Neller, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, Air Force Chief of Staff General Dave Goldfein reportedly told Congress Tuesday that he was not aware of any problems with transgender service members.

Asked whether transgender service members negatively affect the military, Milley replied, “Not at all.”

“We have a finite number. We know who they are and it is monitored very closely, because I am concerned about that, and I want to make sure they are treated with dignity and respect,” he told Congress in mid-April, adding, “I have received precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale and all those sorts of things.”

Facing the same line of questioning, Richardson and Neller stated that they were “not aware of any issues” with transgender service members.

“By virtue of being a Navy sailor, we treat every one of those Navy sailors, regardless, with dignity and respect,” Richardson said last week, further remarking, “That is warranted by wearing the uniform of the United States Navy. By virtue of that approach, I am not aware of any issues.”

“By reporting those Marines that have come forward, there’s 27 Marines that have identified as transgender, one sailor serving. I am not aware of any issues in those areas,” Neller explained when asked the same question.

The testimonies of these four service chiefs are quite different from the views and policies of the president and his secretary of defense, which are being challenged in multiple courts.

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