All the breathless reporting that President Trump’s cabinet is in rebellion and disarray are wrong on this one. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is doing exactly what Donald Trump ordered him to do.
The memorandum, signed by Trump, orders Mattis to:
(a) maintain the currently effective policy regarding accession of transgender individuals into military service beyond January 1, 2018, until such time as the Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, provides a recommendation to the contrary that I find convincing; and
(b) halt all use of DoD or DHS resources to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel, except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex.
Section 2(a) takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and 2(b) on March 23, 2018. Mattis has until Feb. 21, 2018 to submit a plan to comply with a “transgender ban” or evidence as to why the Obama-era directive should be kept–in whole or part–intact.
The implementation plan shall adhere to the determinations of the Secretary of Defense, made in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, as to what steps are appropriate and consistent with military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints, and applicable law. As part of the implementation plan, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military. Until the Secretary has made that determination, no action may be taken against such individuals under the policy set forth in section 1(b) of this memorandum.
What did the press report?
USA Today: “Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis late Tuesday announced that transgender troops will be allowed to continue serving in the military pending the results of a study by experts.
That’s exactly what he was told to do by his Commander-in-Chief.
If Feb. 21, 2018 comes along and Mattis decides to keep transgenders in the military, despite Trump’s objections, after submitting his expert report, then the media can claim Trump has been “reversed.”
Large organizations take time to make changes, and, as Trump is learning, nothing happens in the DOD without a study and a 60-slide Powerpoint deck along with a 200-page report.