The top cheifs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have all testified before congress saying they have found no problems with transgender people currently serving in the armed forces. Their statements run contrary to the positions of President Trump and Defence Secretary James Mattis, who have endorsed a Pentagon report used as a foundation in attempting to implement the President’s current transgender military ban.
On April 12th, United States Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley was asked by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) if he had heard of any problems with unit cohesion arising from open transgender service, Milley advised there had been “precisely zero reports” of any issues.
Senator Gillibrand: “Are you aware of any problems with unit cohesion arising … Have you [heard] anything about how transgender service members are harming unit cohesion?”
General Milley: “No, not at all. We have a finite number. We know who they are, and it is monitored very closely because I am concerned about that and want to make sure that they are, in fact, treated with dignity and respect. And no, I have received precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale and all those sorts of things. No.”
On April 17th, United States Coast Guard Commandant (Incoming), Vice Admiral Karl Schultz was asked by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) if he was aware of any “disciplinary or unit cohesion issues” with regards to transgender service members.
Senator Baldwin: “Vice Admiral Schultz, based on the Coast Guard’s experience and your own experience as the commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area, are you aware of any disciplinary or unit cohesion issues resulting from the opening of service to transgender individuals on June 30, 2016? If so, can you tell me how they have been handled by unit leadership?”
Vice Admiral Karl Schultz:“I am not aware of any disciplinary or unit cohesion issues resulting from the opening of the Coast Guard to transgender individuals.”
On April 19th, United States Navy Chief Naval Officer, Admiral Jon Richardson and United States Marine Corps Commandant, General Robert Neller were asked by Senator Gillibrand if they were “aware of any issue resulting from open transgender service.”
Senator Gillibrand:“General Milley told me that there were precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion or morale as a result of open transgender service. Are you aware of any issue resulting from open transgender service?”
USN CNO Admiral Jon Richardson:“We treat every one of those sailors with dignity and respect that is warranted by wearing the uniform of the United States Navy. By virtue of that approach, I’m not aware of any issues.”
USMC Commandant General Robert Neller:“By reporting those marines that have come forward, there are 27 Marines that have identified as transgender, I am not aware of any issues in those areas.”
On April 23rd, United States Air Force Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein was asked by Senator Gillibrand if he was aware of any morale or discipline issues resulting from transgender people serving in the AIr Force.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:“Other service chiefs have told me there were zero issues of morale or discipline resulting from open transgender service, are you aware of any?”
USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein: “The way you present the question, I have not.”
President Trump had originally announced the transgender military ban via Twitter back in July 2017 and since being implemented in August of 2017, it has been held up due to multiple Federal Court injunctions. After a review was completed by Defense Secretary Mattis in February of 2018, President Trump issued a second version of the ban in March 2018 that has since been held up by Federal Court injunctions.
On April 4, the American Medical Association sent Defence Secretary Mattis a letter, expressing their concerns about the Pentagon’s proposed policy.
“We believe there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude transgender individuals from military service,” wrote James Madara, a physician and CEO for the AMA. “Transgender individuals have served, and continue to serve, our country with honor, and we believe they should be allowed to continue doing so.”
Madera also cited the 2016 research of the bipartisan RAND Corp, which found the cost of medical treatment and the ability of transgender people to deploy would have a have a minimal impact on military readiness.
The Pentagon currently refuses to name any of the experts whose research they used to create the February report issued by Defense Secretary Mattis, citing ongoing litigation. Recent reports have claimed that Vice President Mike Pence played a leading role in the creation of this report, along with Ryan Anderson, an anti-trans activist, and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ lobbying group.