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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.
The Defense Department's Inspector General's Office has launched an "evaluation" of the deployment of active-duty and National Guard troops to the southern border, a news release said Tuesday.
"We will examine, among other issues, what they are doing at the border, what training they received, and whether their use complied with applicable law, DoD policy, and operating guidance," said Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general performing the duties of the inspector general, in the release.
Gold Star family members might finally see an end to the so-called "Widows Tax" thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 175 Saudi Arabian military aviation students have been grounded as part of a "safety stand-down" after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people last week at a U.S. Navy base in Florida, U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
The number of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against senior Army officials increased this year, according to an Army Inspector General report recently presented to service leaders and obtained by Task & Purpose.
The document, which lays out broad details of IG investigations undertaken in fiscal year 2019, looks at investigations specific to senior Army officials, which includes "promotable colonels, general officers and senior executives," according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz.
MONS, Belgium (Reuters) - The United States will send 20,000 troops to Europe next April and May in its biggest military exercises on European soil since the Cold War to underscore Washington's commitment to NATO, a senior allied commander said on Tuesday.
Days after a NATO summit in London at which U.S. President Donald Trump called low-spending European allies "delinquent", U.S. Major General Barre Seguin said the exercises, centered on Germany, will be the largest of their kind in 25 years.
"This really demonstrates transatlantic unity and the U.S. commitment to NATO," Seguin, who oversees allied operations from NATO's military headquarters in Belgium, told Reuters.