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Trump’s Order Bans Military From Accepting Transgender Recruits
President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military on Friday to reject openly transgender people as new recruits but authorized Defense Secretary James Mattis to decide how to handle transgender personnel already serving in the armed forces.
Trump also ordered the military to stop paying for gender reassignment surgical procedures by March 23 except to protect the health of someone who has already begun the process of reassigning sex, according to a senior White House official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.
The Defense Department will have six months to consider how to handle openly transgender people currently serving in the military under a memorandum that Trump signed on Friday, the official said. The memorandum directs the department to consider unit cohesion, applicable law and resources in making the determination, the official said.
Trump announced July 26 he would ban transgender people from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military, reversing President Barack Obama’s policy to let them serve openly in the ranks.
The announcement, in a series of early morning tweets, caught Pentagon officials and key members of Congress off guard, and the Pentagon said it wouldn’t change its policies until it received a formal order from the president.
“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the office of Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford said in a statement after Trump’s July tweets. “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”
That formal notification came in a presidential memorandum Trump signed Friday, the White House official said.
Trump said in July his concern hinged on the additional medical costs and “disruption” of such troops. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited “military readiness and unit cohesion.”
Care related to gender reassignment costs the Pentagon $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually, the larger number a little more than 0.1 percent of the military’s entire health care bill, according to a 2016 RAND Corp. study. By contrast, the military spent $84 million on Viagra and other drugs for erectile dysfunction for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees in 2014 alone, the Military Times reported.
Treatment of transgender people has become a flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars as social conservatives lead fights in some states to require that students and sometimes adults use school and public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth.
Trump had attempted as a candidate to thread a needle between the two sides. In his campaign, he cultivated evangelical voters while at the same time promising to “fight for” the gay and transgender community.
©2017 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The Navy has fired five senior leaders so far in August – and the month isn't even over.
While the sea service is famous for instilling in officers that they are responsible for any wrongdoing by their sailors – whether they are aware of the infractions or not – the recent rash of firings is a lot, even for the Navy.
A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.
'We are a people organization' — Army leaders push renewed focus on soldiers amid rise in sexual assaults and suicides
After months of focusing on modernization priorities, Army leadership plans to tackle persisting personnel issues in the coming years.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday at an event with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that what people can to hear service leadership "talk a lot about ... our people. Investing in our people, so that they can reach their potential. ... We are a people organization."
Two U.S. military service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the Resolute Support mission announced in a press release.
Their identities are being withheld pending notification of next of kin, the command added.
A total of 16 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan so far in 2019. Fourteen of those service members have died in combat including two service members killed in an apparent insider attack on July 29.
Two U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been killed in non-combat incidents and a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was declared dead after falling overboard while the ship was supporting operations in Afghanistan.
At least two defense contractors have also been killed in Afghanistan. One was a Navy veteran and the other had served in the Army.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's paramilitary groups on Wednesday blamed a series of recent blasts at their weapons depots and bases on the United States and Israel.
The statement from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the umbrella grouping of Iraq's mostly Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary groups, many of which are backed by Iran, said the United States had allowed four Israeli drones to enter the region accompanying U.S. forces and carry out missions on Iraqi territory.