Mattis under pressure to reverse Obama administration’s approval of transgender troops
(Associated Press/File) more > Print
By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times – Sunday, June 18, 2017
Defense Secretary James Mattis is facing his first significant decision in the military’s sexual revolution legacy left by the last commander in chief, Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, issued a directive last year permitting transgender troops to remain in the military and undergo sex reassignment procedures instead of facing automatic discharge.The next step in the transgender agenda is due July 1, according to Mr. Carter’s timeline.
Mr. Mattis is to decide whether the armed forces will allow transgender people to join the military.Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, an Obama holdover, required each service to submit plans for how they will open the ranks to transgender recruits. Those road maps are now in, leaving the next move up to Mr. Mattis, a retired Marine Corps four-star general who in the past has complained about the Pentagon’s intense focus on social issues.
Mr. Mattis testified last week before three congressional committees but did not address his plans for transgender troops.Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, a Pentagon spokesman, issued a statement to The Washington Times: “The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the Military Departments to assess their readiness to access transgender applicants into the military.
The assessment is narrowly focused on readiness to access transgender applicants, not on gender transition by currently serving service members.“Diversity is a source of strength for the Department of Defense, and is a key to maintaining our high state of readiness. Diversity encompasses more than demographic differences (e.g., race, gender and sexual orientation).
We also value diversity of thought, background, language, culture and skills. Readiness and combat-effectiveness are our priority.”Social conservatives have mounted a campaign to persuade Mr. Mattis to suspend the Carter transgender directive with the ultimate goal of recalling it and all of the associated manuals.“The policies adopted require our Armed Forces to officially assume the risks of recruiting and retaining persons who are suffering with a condition requiring long-term medical and perhaps, surgical treatment, with uncertain results often associated with higher rates of depression and suicide,” said a statement from the Conservative Action Project.
“The accommodation of such individuals in the military indicates that the U.S. Department of Defense will bear the cost of hormone treatments, surgery, and post-operative care to facilitate ‘gender transitioning.’”Nearly 100 conservative activists signed the statement headlined, “Restoring America’s Military Strength.”
They said the Carter order requires commanders to “master the nuances of a complex psycho-sexual medical sub-specialty, and initiate or approve procedures for which they have no formal training.”Signatories included retired Army Lt. General William Boykin, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Elaine Donnelly, who runs the Center for Military Readiness.Matt Thorn, executive director of Outserve-SLDN, which aids the LGBT community, said of the Carter road map: “Everything has been proceeding as planned.”