Thursday, July 27, 2017

Transgender Military Policy Update

Does the most powerful military in the world, with the capacity to destroy most or all of life on Earth really rely on Twitter’s verification protocols?


This morning there is news that there will – for now – be no change in the US military’s policy toward transgender service members. The news comes in the form of a letter shared with members of the press from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

By and large, the letter speaks for itself. Dunford’s reference to continuing “to treat all of our personnel with respect” seems like a fairly clear indication of his personal view of the matter. But it’s the second sentence of the first paragraph which caught my attention. Dunford writes: “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”


Under the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, the key players in the process are the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the heads of the Unified Commands – Central Command, European Command, Pacific Command, et al. The key element of Goldwater-Nichols was diminishing the power of the service chiefs in favor of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Combatant Commanders. But the Secretary of Defense remains the key link in the conveyance of commands from the President to the uniformed military.


Again, maybe I’m reading too much into this. And I don’t mean any of this to suggest that there is some new military ‘resistance’ to the President. I take this simply to be an intentionally public statement of facts and legal process. And I think it is quite significant.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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