Wednesday, 24 July, 2019

Mattis 'Freezes' Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Christy Curtis | 31 August, 2017, 06:53

Further information on the panel will be forthcoming.

Trump directed the Pentagon on Friday to implement a ban on transgender individuals from enlisting in the military, which he first announced in a tweet.

"No", Mattis told reporters when he was asked about Trump's tweet in this regard during a welcome ceremony for his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.

In a statement Tuesday Mattis appeared cautious about implementing Trump's order.

Trump's move has been backed by certain sections of the Republican party.

On Aug. 29, Mattis disclosed that transgender troops would continue serving in the US military pending the results of a study on their "deployability".

Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, said he thinks Mattis is following orders as well.

"Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly, courageously and successfully in the USA military for more than a year - not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence", he added.

"We continue to work together and the minister and I share responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation our populations and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today", Mattis said. "Prior to his nomination there was obviously the widely reported conversation about whether or not torture is effective, in which Mattis' opinion was taken into account", Schafer said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that "talking" will not solve the standoff with North Korea, signaling a more aggressive response to the regime's nuclear and missile programs.

Trump's order has also resulted in several lawsuits filed on behalf of current and future United States military soldiers.

"Unfortunately, what we have not is less of a freeze and more of a six month waiting period", Schafer said. In Minter's view, the Trump administration is already determined to ban all transgender troops and any study on the issue would only serve as cover. The study estimated that a few to several thousand transgender troops are on the active duty force of 1.3 million.

The RAND study stated the cost of keeping transgender individuals and new recruits in the military is estimated to cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually in total. In June 2016, former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter of the Obama administration lifted the ban based on the findings of a RAND Corporation study, according to The New York Times.

Some congressional offices and think tanks have conducted their own studies on the issue. The Slate report also quoted Chase Strangio, an ACLU attorney, saying that Mattis' "statements do not change the directive nor has he been given the power to retain transgender service members indefinitely".

That paper factors in hypothetical situations, like a year of leave for experience in the new gender, but there is no evidence DoD planned to offer that benefit.

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