Dozens of retired military brass released a statement Tuesday opposing Donald Trump’s proposed transgender ban, saying it would negatively impact military readiness. They also entirely rejected his rationale that providing medical treatment to transgender troops would be too expensive.
This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy. As a result, the proposed ban would degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving— and who want to serve—must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity.
“President Trump seeks to ban transgender service members because of the financial cost and disruption associated with transgender military service. We respectfully disagree, and consider these claims to be without merit. The RAND Corporation, as well as research in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the financial cost of providing health care to transgender troops would be, at most, $8.4 million per year. This amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent of the military’s annual health care budget. As for ostensible disruptions, transgender troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year, and have been widely praised by commanders.
Ever since Trump announced the supposed new policy via twitter last week, the military has been in open rebellion against Trump’s recklessness. Along with this statement from retired officers, the current military leadership flouted Trump’s pronouncement and two former Chairs of the Joint Chiefs—Adm. Mike Mullen and General Martin Dempsey—have derided the effort.
“The military conducted a thorough research process on this issue and concluded that inclusive policy for transgender troops promotes readiness,” Mullen said. “I urge the Congress to respect the military’s judgment and not to breach the faith of service members who defend our freedoms.”