Transgender ban: Pentagon to announce the new trans troop policy
The Pentagon is expected to announce its new policy on transgender troops on Wednesday following a six month legal battle.
The legal back and forth was sparked by President Trump calling for a ban on trans troops on Twitter in July last year.
Trump announced that all transgender service people would be banned from the US armed forces, claiming they were a burden on the military.
The policy led to a deluge of lawsuits, with a DC judge preventing Trump from blocking an already-written directive to actively permit the enrolment of transgender people.
Lawyers from the Justice Department told U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis earlier this month that they would be bringing a new policy on trans troops forward tomorrow.
This falls into the timeline set by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who promised in September 2017 that he would work with a panel of experts to define the new policy by February 21, 2018.
It is not exactly clear what the policy will state, but many pundits predict that it will echo the sentiments set out by Trump in his initial tweets – that trans troops will not be allowed.
In a memo written by Mattis in September, the Defence Secretary wrote that the new policy on trans troops would have to be “consistent with military effectiveness and lethality”.
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Deployability is a top priority for Mattis and the Pentagon as they just announced a new policy which dictates that unless a service member is able to be deployed in 12 months or less, they will be kicked out.
A study which was commissioned by the Pentagon and carried out by RAND, a non-partisan survey company, found that having transgender troops would make a negligible impact on the readiness to deploy.
The study stated: “In terms of readiness, RAND estimates that 10 to 130 active component members each year could have reduced deployability as a result of gender transition-related treatments.
“This amount is negligible relative to the 102,500 nondeployable soldiers in the Army alone in 2015, 50,000 of them in the active component.”
Since Trump’s tweets announcing the proposed ban, interim guidance was put in place by the Pentagon to temporarily halt trans troops from being forced to leave the service.
The guidance also allowed trans troops to access medical treatment and on January 1, transgender people were allowed to enlist openly.