Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
LGBT Advocates Liked What They Heard From Mattis
Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis faced his confirmation hearing for the post of Defense secretary on Jan. 12, where he was grilled on his positions on women and LGBT service members. But advocacy groups are pleasantly surprised to hear that Mattis pledged that he won’t be undoing the work of his predecessors in making the military a place of equal opportunity.
“We are heartened by General Mattis’ stated commitment during his testimony not to reverse the profound progress we have made in ensuring LGBT service members and their families are able to serve our nation with pride,” American Military Partner Association president Ashley Broadway-Mack and OutServe-SLDN executive director Matt Thorn wrote in a joint statement.
“Frankly, Senator I’ve never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with,” he told Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in his testimony.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, bluntly pressed Mattis on the issue, asking, “Is there something innate in being a woman or LGBT that would cause you to believe that they could not be part of a lethal force?”
Mattis simply replied, “No.”
Much of the initial concern about his stance came from a 2014 speech at the Marines' Memorial Club in San Francisco, where Mattis said, “The idea of putting women in there is not setting them up for success. It would only be someone who never crossed the line of departure into close quarters fighting that would ever even promote such an idea."
He also co-edited a book with Hoover Institution colleague Kori Schake in 2016 on the dangers of imposing social issues on the military, like women in combat and LGBT service members.
However, Mattis suggested his position on the issue has evolved.
“We open the door to all patriots who are eligible and meet the standards, provide them with the training, equipment, and leadership that's central to their success, and ensure all service members are treated with dignity and respect,” he said during his prepared remarks.
KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban will implement a 10-day ceasefire with U.S. troops, a reduction in violence with Afghan forces and discussions with Afghan government officials if it reaches a deal with U.S. negotiators in talks in Doha, two sources have said.
If an agreement is sealed, it could revive hopes for a long-term solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Defense Department announced on Friday that training would resume for international military students — once some additional policies and security measures were put in place.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee renewed a threat on Friday to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about Iran policy and President Donald Trump's ordering of the strike that killed an Iranian military commander.
Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he scheduled a public hearing with Pompeo for Wednesday, Jan. 29.
Pentagon dismisses idea that injuries from Iranian base attack were downplayed for 'political agenda'
THE PENTAGON — While speaking to reporters on Friday, Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman dismissed the idea that soldiers' injuries from the Jan. 8 Iranian attack was downplayed in order to advance a "political agenda" and de-escalate the situation with Iran.