TransGriot Note: Another day I thought I would never live to see when I started my activist journey, but here is the statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter discussing the DOD Transgender Service Policy.
This is a wonderful moment for the 15,000 trans people serving our country in the US Armed Forces. and thanks to all the people who have worked diligently inside and outside the military to make this day happen.
Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on DOD Transgender Policy
Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has
proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where
we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new
battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to
institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in
the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to
women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have
been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside
their fellow comrades in arms.
The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender
service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts
commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have
learned from experience that the most important qualification for
service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their
job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules
that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers,
sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know
are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s
contrary to our value of service and individual merit.
Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD
will create a working group to study over the next six months the
policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to
serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel
and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian
personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff,
this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work.
At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that
transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military
effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective,
practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that
decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed
with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be
elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all
As I’ve said before, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and
willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we
must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to
improve how we do both. Our military’s future strength depends on it.