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Transgender Air Force Academy Graduate Denied Commission While DoD Reviews Guidelines
A transgender Air Force Academy graduate is being withheld lieutenant's bars because of what the academy calls a gap in Pentagon rules for transgender military recruits.
Although the Defense Department began allowing military service by transgender people last year, the change applied to those who were active duty, not recruits, Air Force Academy spokesman Lt. Col. Allen Herritage said in a written statement.
As a result, a recent graduate has been barred from receiving a commission, Heritage confirmed, declining to name the cadet.
Policies for recruits -- or "accessions" in military jargon -- were under review by the Pentagon and revised guidelines were expected by July 16, Herritage said.
"However, we are strongly recommending this individual for Air Force civil service as an option for continued service after the Academy," the statement said. "The more than 140,000 Air Force civilians who serve along aside our uniformed Airmen everyday are essential to our mission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace."
The civil service is a name for the federal's government's civilian workforce. Civil servants hold no rank and are not considered military personnel.
News of the cadet's limbo was reported May 10 by USA Today and again Thursday by The New York Times.
The unidentified cadet was one of two transgender service academy graduates caught up in an apparent loophole, the newspapers reported.
The Times quoted Brad Carson, former acting undersecretary of defense and architect of the change in transgender rules, saying that the authors "envisioned that the same rules that apply to active-duty service members today would also apply to service academy personnel, because they're already in the military."
Herritage declined to say how long Air Force Academy brass had been on notice about the cadet's gender identity and impending issues surrounding graduation.
Academy graduates agree to serve as a commissioned officer for at least eight years after graduation, five of which must be active duty, with more stringent requirements for pilots, according to the academy's website.
Those who fail to meet their obligations can be made to repay costs of their education. An academy admissions website estimated that value at more than $400,000.
Whether a career in civil service satisfies those obligations is unclear. However, Herritage said, "if the civil service option was approved, the cadet would not incur any costs to pay back."
Responding to a question by The Gazette, Herritage said the academy's move endorsing the cadet for the civil service shouldn't be interpreted to mean that it believes transgender recruits will be barred when rules are clarified in July.
"We're awaiting policy and in the absence of policy we're going to use our best judgment on a case by case basis," he said.
He couldn't say if the Air Force Academy has previously accepted civil service as a substitute for eight years of service as an officer.
The Air Force Academy has a multidisciplinary Transgender Working Group that has been working with Air Force brass to assist in crafting a policy specific to the Air Force Academy, the statement said.
Herritage said he couldn't speak to the working group's recommendations thus far, and declined the newspaper's request for an interview with a member. He referred further questions to the Defense Department.
©2017 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the employee behind a firearm company's Facebook page decided to goaded a bunch of Marines into destroying their brand new firearms? Now you know.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
If you are in the market for any size of military surplus vehicle, keep an eye on GovPlanet. The online auction house is about to start selling U.S. Navy and Marine Corps surplus M1161 ITV Growlers and seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks.
The White House will keep challenging the Pentagon on the threat of climate change until it gets an answer it likes
The definition of insanity, the old saying goes, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result — a definition that applies perfectly to the Trump administration's response to the looming national security threat of global climate change.