By Victor Ochieng
Several stories have come out saying President Donald Trump is planning to ban transgender people from serving in the United States military. A source indicated that the President made a Wednesday announcement, in which he iterated his plans to ban all transgender persons from serving in the U.S. armed forces.
There is another policy, which was approved by the Defense Department during President Barack Obama’s term in office, allowing openly transgender persons to serve in the military. The policy was in its final stage of review. Should Trump’s newly proposed policy be implemented, it’ll mean an indefinite halt to the former proposal.
Things took a totally different twist last month after Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that the enactment of the Obama policy would be delayed.
Still, things aren’t clear about Trump’s new “directive.”
CNN reported that top military officials have said they weren’t aware of the president’s plan to tweet about his ban on transgender persons being allowed to serve in the military. The Joint Chiefs of Staff weren’t aware of the plans.
This must have been what prompted Joint Chief’s of Staff Chairman Dunford to inform servicemen and women that no changes will be effected on ” the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidelines.”
In a memo to the military, Dunford wrote, “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” adding, “As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”
On Thursday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he had not received any directives from the military ranks informing him of a ban, pointing out that he only heard about the President’s alleged ban through the media.
“We will work through the implementation guidance when we get it and then we’ll move from there,” he added.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain was also among those who said the announcement came as a surprise.
However, the President said in his Wednesday tweet that he’d consulted his generals and military experts about the issue.
“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,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “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.”
What’s not clear are the “generals and military experts” the President consulted.