Military Times reports that the Obama administration’s previous effort to allow transgender citizens to serve in the U.S. military is under intense review now by the Pentagon.
The directive issued by former President Barack Obama in June 2016 gave the services precisely one year to craft policy implementation. As things stand now, the Army and Marince Corps are the most resistant to the policy’s implementation. As such the policy now is under “indefinite delay.” Contrary to probable speculations, though the objections to the policy’s implementation are due to logistical concerns, and not ideological.
Included in the logistical concerns are a lack of funding for upgraded group showers and changes to service members living quarters. Military officials also said that several other procedural issues are getting in the way of the policy’s implementation. One official told the Military Times that: “It’s not that we’re unsupportive or unwilling to implement it; just that there were administrative matters to be addressed.”
The delay was fully illustrated after two cadets at U.S. service academies were not permitted to commission in their gender identity because no official policy guidance has been issued. One of the cadets from the Air Force Academy is being recommended for appointment to the Air Force civil service, as a possible civilian employee of the Department of Defense.
The amount of time a transgender military prospect must be in their gender identity before they are allowed to apply is also being reviewed by Pentagon officials. Some officials are concerned the psychological effect of gender dysphoria could inhibit transgender applicants’ combat effectiveness.
There are also potential inconsistencies to fix. For one, Former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter specified then that an applicant would have been to in a stable gender identity for a period of 18 months, but the Federal Aviation Administration requires pilot applicants to have been in theirs for five years.
The military has approximately 7,000 transgender service members who cannot be discharged as ordered by the Obama administration’s guidance.
There is also the big issue of costs to consider related to the matter. A June 2016 Rand Corporation study found that additional health care for these service members will cost taxpayers between 2.4 and 8.4 million dollars.