According to the Military Times, the Defense Department is reviewing its efforts to allow “transgender” persons to serve in the military. Barack Obama’s directive to allow transgenders to serve openly in the military was in June 2016, giving the various armed services one year to come up with implementation of the former president’s wishes. So far, the Army and Marine Corps are reportedly the most resistant to implementing Obama’s directive.
While the policy may now be headed for indefinite delay, the military’s objections may lay with logistical rather than ideological issues. Among the issues is a lack of funding to upgrade group showers for service members and to modify living quarters. According to Military Times, Pentagon officials say that many more such procedural issues remain to be ironed out. One official said that while the military is not unwilling to implement the directive, there are administrative issues to be addressed.
Last month, two service academy cadets were not allowed to commission in their chosen gender identity because no official policy guidance has been issued. A cadet graduating the Air Force Academy is being recommended for an Air Force civil service job as a civilian.
Among the issues the Pentagon is juggling is the amount of time a military recruit must have claimed a gender identity before being allowed to apply. There are also concerns that the psychological effect of gender dysphoria or confusion may inhibit service applicants’ combat effectiveness.
Under the Obama administration, former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter specified that applicants must have been in a stable gender identity for a period of 18 months, even while the Federal Aviation Administration requires pilot applicants to have been in theirs for five years. Currently, there are approximately 7,000 transgender service-members who cannot be discharged per the Obama administration’s guidance. According to a June 2016 Rand Corporation study, additional health care coverage for these service-members will cost taxpayers between 2.4 and 8.4 million dollars.