Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Military Prepares To Receive First Transgender Recruits On Jan 1 As Trump’s Ban Flounders In Court
The Trump administration is requesting more time to appeal a judge’s block on President Donald Trump’s plan to bar transgender people from military service, the Associated Press reports. If the request is denied, there’s a good chance transgender people will be allowed to enlist in the military and serve openly beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
In October, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the military to open its ranks to transgender troops on Jan. 1 after she concluded that a lawsuit filed against the ban would easily prevail and issued a preliminary injunction, according to The Washington Post.
On Nov. 28, Kollar-Kotelly denied a motion from the administration requesting that the deadline be delayed. Government lawyers then turned to the U.S. Court of Appeals, asking a judge on Dec. 7 to temporarily hold the Jan. 1 requirement until their appeal is resolved.
President Donald Trump announced his proposal to bar transgender people from serving in the military via Twitter on July 26, saying that the ban was necessary to ensure the armed forces remained “focused on decisive and overwhelming victory,” citing “tremendous medical costs” and “disruption that transgender in the military would entail” as justifications.
The tweets were followed by a presidential directive to prohibit military recruitment of transgender people and force those already serving out of the armed forces. The plan, set to take effect in March 2018, drew backlash from Democrats and civil rights groups, and, in August, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of six transgender active-duty troops, arguing that the ban violated their Fifth Amendment Rights to equal protection.
Kollar-Kotelly ruled in favor of the ACLU on Oct. 30, stating that the Trump administration’s policy “does not appear to be supported by facts.” As The Washington Post notes, the injunction — which will hold until the lawsuit is resolved or dismissed — “effectively reverts Trump’s policy to the one issued under” President Barack Obama’s administration.
“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all,” Kollar-Kotelly said in the preliminary injunction. “In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects.”
In June 2016, Obama allowed transgender troops to serve openly and receive related medical treatment and also ordered the Pentagon to establish a policy for allowing transgender people to enlist within a year. The decision was made after a Pentagon-commissioned study concluded that transgender troops would have “little impact” on military operations, according to The Washington Post.
The Obama administration’s timeline was extended earlier this year by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said the Pentagon needed until Jan. 1 to evaluate how recruiting transgender troops would impact “readiness and cohesion.” In August, after Trump announced his intent to reverse Obama’s decision, Mattis formed a panel of experts to review the policy and come up with recommendations for how best to implement the new plan. He was given a Feb. 21 deadline.
The Department of Justice highlighted the Pentagon’s ongoing review of the policy in a statement released after Kollar-Kotelly’s October ruling.
“Plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging military service requirements is premature for many reasons, including that the Defense Department is actively reviewing such service requirements, as the President ordered, and because none of the Plaintiffs have established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service,” the statement read.
The Associated Press reports that the government has asked that the judge decide whether or not to approve the deadline extension by Dec. 11. Meanwhile, the military is “taking steps to be prepared” for accepting transgender recruits on Jan. 1, a Pentagon spokesman told The Washington Post on Dec. 6.
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.