Trump Administration to Bar Transgender Individuals From Serving in U.S. Military

The president made the announcement in a series of tweets

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Mr. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

.. The presidential announcement, which left unclear the status of those currently serving in the military, appeared to take many in the Pentagon by surprise.

..Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who opened the department to transgender troops said the decision would hurt the military.“I continue to maintain that what matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified,” he said in a statement. “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military. There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably. This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service.”

.. accused Mr. Trump of “trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel who have put their lives on the line for their country.”
.. Tony Perkins, president of the social conservative group Family Research Council, praised Mr. Trump’s decision. “The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda,” he said in a statement.
.. A report commissioned by the Pentagon on the effects of allowing transgender individuals to serve openly, released in May 2016, found that policy shift would have little to no impact on military cohesion or readiness, and that costs would be negligible. The study, conducted by the Rand Corp., found that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals now serve in active duty, amounting to about 0.05% of the total U.S. active force. The study pegged the likely estimate at 2,450.
.. The report estimated that few of those service members would require treatment or surgery and concluded that the cost of implementing the policy would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year. Total military health-care expenditures were $6.27 billion in 2014.
.. The report also found few problems in foreign militaries that provide for open transgender service. It said 18 countries reviewed in the study “do not report evidence of negative impacts on unit cohesion and readiness.”