Here’s Why The Pentagon’s unique Transgender Military Proposal Doesn't Change Anything Yet
The Pentagon on Friday sent recommendations to the White House approximately how to handle transgender people in the US military — two days later than had been expected and still leaving most questions unresolved.
President Trump had requested the recommendations in order to supply a roadmap on how to carry out the president’s order final summer to ban transgender service.
“The Secretary of Defense made his recommendations on transgender service members to the White House this morning,” Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News.
But Eastburn did not say what those recommendations were, nor did he confirm a Washington Post report on Thursday that cited two unnamed US officials who said Defense Secretary James Mattis would advise that transgender people remain in the armed forces.
“The recommendations made by the Secretary was a private conversation between he and the White House, so details of that conversation will remain private,” Eastburn added.
The announcement may raise bigger instant questions than it answers: Will Trump actually adopt the recommendations from Sec. Mattis, and whether Trump seeks to continue the ban, in addition, can it actually be enforced given that federal courts suspended Trump’s underlying transgender service ban months ago?
Absent a comment from the White House confirming Trump will adopt the recommendations by a March 23 deadline, or a courts’ opinions on whether a future policy is legal, those questions are up in the air.
The Justice Department had placed meaningful stock in this announcement, according to a federal judge in Maryland, who said the department claimed a unique policy would be “disclosed” on Feb. 21 — which was Wednesday.
The Justice Department, according to the judge, also said the unique policy would be so different from Trump’s preceding ban that officials didn’t need to hand over certain documents approximately its origins.
The Justice Department did not reply to questions from BuzzFeed News approximately the policy’s whereabouts.
The Justice Department’s greatest challenge in defending the policy, up to now, is that federal courts said it singled out transgender people and would likely be ruled an unconstitutional violation of due process rights under the 5th Amendment.
Given those past setbacks, there has been widespread speculation the Trump administration’s unique policy would be designed to avoid legal snags — much the same way Trump issued permutations of the travel ban, each one redrafted to evade challenges that doomed the one before.
The Pentagon on Tuesday announced a unique “deploy or out” policy that applies across the military, which could affect up to 286,000 service members who absorb been non-deployable for a year or more. Those troops would be separated from the military or referred to the disability evaluation system.
It was not immediately clear whether — or how — the deployment policy may factor into the administration’s defense of the transgender ban.
But critics of transgender troops, including Trump, absorb raised concerns that transgender service members burden the military because they are undeployable while they recover from gender-transition surgeries and other treatments.
In June 2016, the Obama administration lifted a decades-long ban on transgender service, citing research that found transgender people would not bog down the military.
But Trump reversed that decision, saying on Twitter in July 2017 that transgender people would render the military “burdened with medical costs and disruption.” He made the decision to stop their service, he said, “after consultation with my Generals and military experts.”
Trump formalized the policy in a memorandum final August that instructed the Secretary of Defense to supply policy recommendations on Weds, Feb. 21, 2018, on recruitment, retention, and health care.
Questions approximately the provenance of Trump’s position absorb received meaningful scrutiny, since judges absorb said Trump’s decree did not appear to be based on a valid, lega national security interest or stemming from a policy-making process.
As one federal judge wrote in November, “President Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review,” adding, “A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of unique policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders.”
BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday that newly obtained emails cast questions approximately whether Trump did, in fact, consult with top officials before the July tweets, as he’d claimed. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in emails on July 27 that Trump’s announcement “was unexpected” and that he intended to say he was “not consulted