By the end of this week, Pentagon officials plan to repeal a ban from the 1970s that prevents transgender individuals from serving in the military on the basis that they are medically unfit to do so. The upcoming announcement raises many questions on both sides of the issue as critics and supporters debate the effect on readiness to fight effectively.
Unlike "don't ask, don't tell," which was enacted by congress in 1993 under the Clinton Administration and repealed in 2011 under Obama, the ban on transgender service members is a military regulation that does not require approval from congress. However, the Chair of the Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, is concerned that repealing the ban might compromise the military's ability to adequately defend our nation.
Thornberry pressed the Pentagon on the projected cost of changing the transgender service policy, citing that modifications to barracks, berths, showers, and latrines would all need to be factored in.
Additionally, Thornberry wants to know what kind of medical care transgender service members would receive, and for how long would each individual be required to serve before being eligible for the treatment to transition to the other gender.
Pentagon officials say the main focus of reviewing the policy is to determine the effect that repealing it might have on the military's ability to prepare for battle.
Defense Secretary, Ash Carter said the ban would be lifted unless an honest and balanced assessment could be conducted, that would show an adverse impact on military effectiveness. But so far, there has been no evidence of such an impact.
The Pentagon's plan would give each branch a full year to implement new policies that would affect recruiting, housing, and uniforms for example.
Carter is expected to announce the repeal as early as July 1, 2016.View More From The News Room ArticlesView More News Articles