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DoD To Allow Transgender Enlistments As Courts Tear Apart Trump’s Ban
The Department of Defense announced Dec. 11 that it will again allow transgender applicants to join the military starting Jan. 1, 2018, on the heels of a new court ruling against President Donald Trump’s announced ban on transgender service members.
Pentagon spokesman Maj. David Eastburn told the Associated Press that the service could still turn away candidates with “gender dysphoria,” but not if a physician certifies that the candidate has been “stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment” in every respect.
"Due to the complexity of this new medical standard, trained medical officers will perform a medical prescreen of transgender applicants for military service who otherwise meet all applicable applicant standards," Eastburn told AP.
That surprise move — the military had previously said it would study the issue and put out recommendations by January — came as a federal court dealt another blow to Trump’s demand for a ban on transgender people in the service, which he first handed down in a series of tweets last summer, a move that baffled lawmakers and military brass alike.
On Dec. 11, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for the District of Columbia, who had previously ordered the Pentagon to accept transgender troops by Jan. 1, denied the Trump administration’s request to delay implementation of that order, the Washington Post reports.
Given that the U.S. government has “had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years,” when then-defense secretary Ash Carter announced a pro-transgender policy shift in 2016, “the Court is not convinced by the vague claims in [the government’s] declaration that a stay is needed,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her decision.
A separate federal court in Baltimore had ruled in November that the Trump administration couldn’t withhold funding for already-serving trans servicemembers’ sex-reassignment surgeries, the Post reports.
Those court rulings, and Pentagon’s snap decision to reopen enlistments next month, mean the next battle between administration lawyers and trans advocates “will not be about whether you allow transgender enlistees, it's going to be on what terms," Brad Carson — the former undersecretary of defense personnel and readiness who helped implement Carter’s pro-transgender policy in 2016 — told the AP. "That's really where the controversy will lie."
The U.S. military's withdrawal from northeast Syria is looking more like Dunkirk every day.
On Wednesday, the U.S. military had to call in an airstrike on one of its own ammunition dumps in northern Syria because the cargo trucks required to safely remove the ammo are needed elsewhere to support the withdrawal, Task & Purpose has learned.
Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.
After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.
But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Three U.S. diplomats have been removed from a train and briefly questioned by Russian authorities in the sensitive Arctic shipyard city of Severodvinsk, near the site of a mysterious explosion in August that killed five nuclear workers.
Russia's Interfax news agency reported on October 16 that the diplomats were taken off the train that runs between Severodvinsk and Nyonoksa around 6 p.m. on October 14.
The U.S. Coast Guard had ordered the owner of an illegal 45-foot charter boat, named "Sea You Twerk," to stop operating.
He didn't, the Coast Guard said.
Now, Dallas Lad, 38, will serve 30 days in federal prison, a judge ruled Friday. When he is released, Ladd of Miami Beach, who pleaded guilty, will not be able to own or go on a boat for three years.