Last week, President Trump signed an official directive reversing President Obama’s plan to incorporate transgender individuals into the military, but on Tuesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis (shown) announced that he would be freezing the military’s transgender ban pending the results of a study on how to seamlessly implement it.
“Our focus must always be on what is best for the military’s combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield,” Mattis said. “To that end, I will establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.”
He added that panel members “will bring mature experience, most notably in combat and deployed operations, and seasoned judgment to this task.” The panel will “assemble and thoroughly analyze all pertinent data, quantifiable and non-quantifiable.”
According to the Washington Post, only after the panel makes recommendations and Mattis consults with the secretary of Homeland Security will he make a final determination on the best methods to implement the directive and offer his recommendation to President Trump.
In President Trump’s July 26 announcement of the ban, he indicated that he reached his decision to return to the military’s previous ban on transgender individuals openly serving in the military following consultation with generals and military experts over the impact of President Obama’s policy reversal.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” the president originally communicated in a series of Twitter posts. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
On Friday, President Trump issued a memorandum in which he further clarified the ban with additional details. It explained that the intent is “to return to the long-standing policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016 [when President Obama overturned the ban] until such time as a sufficient basis exists” that would prove that allowing transgender individuals to serve would not have negative effects. As such, the the memorandum states that Mattis has until February 2018 to present a plan on how to implement the ban and what to do with transgender individuals that are already currently serving in the military.
Trump’s memo added that President Obama’s reversal of the long-standing ban on transgenders in the military authorized the use of the Defense Department’s resources to fund sex-reassignment procedures ultimately without providing any evidence that a reversal of the ban would not disrupt unit cohesion and military effectiveness or overwhelm military resources.
President Obama’s decision to reverse the military’s transgender policy has been widely regarded by his critics as a last-ditch effort to cripple the military and push another social-justice agenda item before he exited his office. Prior to its reversal, few liberals seemed to take issue over the military’s transgender ban. It is only now that President Trump is attempting to return to the military’s long-standing ban that there is outrage from Democrats and others on the Left.
But while the reaction from the Left to the ban has been predictably critical, President Trump’s directive has found support among military generals and admirals. In an open letter sent to the president, a group of retired military officials indicated their gratitude to the president for his common-sense approach to the subject, The New American reported. They praised him for “making the extremely courageous decision to reverse President Obama’s transgender social experiment," and added, "There may be an enormous amount of vitriol directed at you for making this policy correction, but please know that overturning this policy may have done more in the long-term to save the culture and war-fighting capacity of the U.S. military than perhaps any other military policy you will adopt as president.”
A late June Rasmussen Poll on the topic of Obama’s transgender policy reversal showed that just 23 percent of people surveyed viewed it as a good thing, while 31 percent said it was bad. Thirty-eight percent said they believed it had no impact.
But perhaps most importantly, the Washington Examiner reports that a Military Times poll conducted last December found that 41 percent of active-duty troops believed that President Obama’s policy reversal hurt military readiness.
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