Thursday, July 27, 2017

Joint Chiefs Of Staff: No Change In Transgender Policy Until Further Notice


An email obtained by USA Today indicates the Navy will not be discharging transgender sailors anytime soon in response to Donald Trump's surprise tweets yesterday morning announcing a sudden ban on transgender service in the military.

The email from Vice Adm. Robert Burke also acknowledges that Trump's announcement is "causing concern for some of our sailors and that they likely have questions."

What's more, it indicates that the Trump's tweets that the U.S. military will not accept transgender troops into its ranks or allow them to serve in any capacity caught military brass unawares.

His email represents the military's first known steps to deal with the tumult unleashed by Trump's tweets.

Burke notes that the office of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is "working to quickly discern the President's intent." Mattis was on vacation when Trump made his announcement.

Also on Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joe Dunford sent a memo to the service chiefs Thursday saying there will be no change in current policy on transgender troops until Mattis receives direction from Trump. That indicates there has been no formal policy guidance issued from the White House.

In the meantime, Burke said that no transgender sailors – nor likely troops from other services – will be discharged until there is clear guidance from the White House.

There may be as many as 6,600 transgender troops on the military's active duty force of 1.3 million, according to a RAND Corp. report.

UPDATE - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued this further guidance (from Reuters):

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford, said in a written message on Thursday to military leaders that there has been no change yet to the military’s policy on transgender personnel, despite plans for a ban announced by President Donald Trump.

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” Dunford, said in the written message to service chiefs, commanders and senior enlisted leaders, first reported by Reuters.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”
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