Society

GOP Rep. Welcomes Delay Of Transgender Enlistment

| by Jordan Smith
James MattisJames Mattis

A GOP representative has welcomed the June 30 decision by Defense Secretary James Mattis to delay for six months the introduction of a policy allowing transgender recruits to join the military.

Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri is pushing for a reversal of the transgender policy, calling on the military to honorably discharge transgender troops, The Hill reported.

Under current regulations, transgender personnel already in the military can continue to serve. Mattis, however, decided to postpone the implementation of transgender enlistment following requests from military commanders.

"This delay is indicative of a policy that was rushed and never clearly thought out, and I'm pleased that Secretary Mattis has decided to delay the accession policy," Hartzler said, according to The Hill. "It is my hope that he will move forward with full repeal in the coming months."

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Hartzler introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in June calling for the reversal of the transgender policy. She later withdrew it, but reserved the right to bring it back during a later vote.

In his announcement June 30, Mattis stressed that it would not "change policies or procedures currently in effect."

"We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality," Mattis said in a statement, according to Military Times.

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Mattis' announcement of the six-month delay followed an agreement among the heads of the four military branches; requests made by the army and air force for a two-year delay were rejected.

Mattis said the review must be completed by Dec. 1.

Supporters of the change say it will open up new sources of talent for the Pentagon to draw from. They also point to a 2016 Rand study, which said there would be "a minimal impact on readiness" if transgender troops were recruited.

"Each day that passes without the policy in place restricts the armed forces' ability to recruit the best and the brightest, regardless of gender identity," Stephen Peters, head of Human Rights Campaign and a Marine veteran, said in response to Mattis' decision.

Hartzler explained in her July 3 statement why she is opposed to transgender personnel serving in the military.

"Military service is a privilege -- not a right -- predicated on the singular goal of fighting and winning our nation's wars," added Hartzler, The Hill reported. "All decisions on personnel and funding should be made with this in mind. High entry and retention standards are required because failure in the job costs lives."

Sources: The Hill, Military Times / Photo credit: Jim Mattis/Flickr (2), US Air Force/Flickr

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