The Pentagon is touting holistic medical solutions and flexibility for transgender service members, but some conservative military observers believe the Defense Department is not doing enough to ensure its approach will not hinder operations.
Then-President Barack Obama initiated a policy in 2016 allowing for and providing medical treatment short of surgery for transgender service members. Obama’s policy was reversed by the Trump administration, but transgender service members were allowed to remain in the military. In his first days in office, the Washington Examiner first reported that President Joe Biden restored the Obama policy and went further, expanding treatment options to include paying for expensive gender reassignment surgery.
In announcing the April 30 implementation of new transgender policies, the Pentagon on Wednesday declined to comment on a Washington Examiner question about how unit cohesion might be affected, citing ongoing litigation. A 2016 RAND study indicated “little or no impact,” and in testimony before Congress, military leaders have touted the benefits of diversity and inclusion.
Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Heritage Foundation’s center for national defense, said Thursday that the RAND study was flawed, and DOD is writing a policy with a solution already in mind.