Amy Klobuchar on Reversing The Transgender Military Ban: A lot More Than a Simple, “Yes, I Will.”

by Palm Center | February 10, 2020

At a CNN town hall leading up to the New Hampshire presidential primary, an audience member with military experience asked Senator Amy Klobuchar what she intended to do about the newly reinstated transgender military ban (link to video): “If elected, will you commit to overturning President Trump’s transgender military ban and providing gender-affirming health care […]

Read More

Enabler Watch

by Palm Center | September 25, 2019

Although former defense secretary James Mattis didn’t include anything in his book Call Sign Chaos about the role he played in reinstating the military’s transgender ban, he was asked about it during a Time Magazine interview. He started off by saying that “it’s an issue that’s right now in the courts and I have to […]

Read More

A New Court Ruling on Transgender Military Policy, But Little That is New

by Palm Center | August 23, 2019

The United States district court in Maryland has issued an opinion in one of the four challenges to Trump’s transgender military ban. We can expect to see additional rulings like this from time to time as cases move toward trial. The ban was officially reinstated on April 12, 2019 after the Supreme Court decided it […]

Read More

Navy: There Isn’t any Reason for the Trump Transgender Ban, but We’ll Try to Make It Look More Fair Than It Is

by Palm Center | August 6, 2019

Vice Admiral Michael Gilday, just confirmed to be the new Chief of Naval Operations, was extremely clear in his testimony (at page 56) to the Senate about whether transgender military service and, more specifically, service by people who transition gender before or during service, has had any impact on readiness: Q: In your experience, has […]

Read More

Propaganda Principles: The Bigger, the Better

by Palm Center | July 29, 2019

The House of Representatives recently passed, on a bipartisan basis, an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit discrimination in eligibility for military service and treatment while in military service. Modeled on President Harry Truman’s 1948 executive order to desegregate the military, the amendment, if enacted, would be the first time […]

Read More

General Milley Affirms That Inclusive Policy for Transgender Troops Did Not Harm Readiness

by Palm Center | July 19, 2019

As part of his Senate confirmation process for the position of Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley recently provided written answers to Senators’ Advance Policy Questions in addition to his live testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Below, the Palm Center comments on General Milley’s responses that address military service […]

Read More

In Polling, Context is Everything

by Palm Center | July 16, 2019

A new Pew Research Center poll of U.S. military veterans found that 46% support inclusive policy that would allow transgender people to serve in the military, in comparison to the 64% of U.S. adults overall who support equal opportunity.  A few points of context to keep in mind if these numbers are cited as evidence […]

Read More

The Hollowness of “Lethality” as a Benchmark for Military Policy

by Palm Center | July 9, 2019

“Lethality” is a buzzword brought to the Department of Defense by former Secretary James Mattis (the last Senate-confirmed nominee), but it remains the all-purpose measure of military policy under the two (and counting) Acting Secretaries that have followed him. Building a “more lethal force” is the theme of our National Defense Strategy. Throughout the chain […]

Read More

Reverse Engineering Bogus Rationales for Discrimination

by Palm Center | July 8, 2019

The Department of Justice is now citing the transgender-military and Muslim-ban cases as authority in the census case, in support of the argument that it should be allowed to reverse-engineer new justifications for discriminatory policy when its rationalizations fail the first time, and also cut off any discovery into the old justifications.  This tactic of […]

Read More

The Supreme Court Believes in Healthy Skepticism

by Palm Center | June 27, 2019

Our entire democratic system is based on an assumption of trust and good faith in government decision making. If we can’t take government actors at their word, at least most of the time, everything breaks down. In upholding the Trump travel ban, the Supreme Court gave the benefit of the doubt to arguments from Department […]

Read More

Something Less Than a “Win” for Transgender Troops

by Palm Center | June 19, 2019

Every Positive Aspect of the Opinion Comes With a Poison Pill That Could Make It Meaningless. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an opinion on transgender service that was partly unexpected, given that the Supreme Court had already stepped in to let the Trump ban take effect for now, while legal challenges proceed. […]

Read More

Army Secretary Says to Most of the Army: “You Don’t Provide Value to Me”

by Palm Center | June 11, 2019

During events in Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, gave an interview to Christine Amanpour of CNN. In an effort to justify why Trump’s Defense Department switched to a ban on transgender military service, he managed to carelessly disregard the contributions of the 85% of the […]

Read More

Finally, a DoD Concession That Trump’s Transgender Military Ban is Simply Discrimination Based on Gender Identity

by Palm Center | June 10, 2019

Two years after a string of presidential tweets set a ban on transgender military service in motion, fifteen months after the former secretary of defense backfilled an after-the-fact justification for those tweets, and two months after the ban took effect, the Department of Defense has now conceded that the ban works by treating transgender people […]

Read More

Defense Secretary Nominee Pat Shanahan’s Vexed Relationship With Evidence

by Palm Center | May 14, 2019

Here is a column from Just Security that lists questions defense reporters would like to ask about transgender policy, for example: “The U.S. military currently has 14,000 transgender troops serving openly. Has their service had any negative consequences on the military’s readiness or morale?” Patrick Shanahan led the Pentagon group that was assigned to clean […]

Read More

Army Chief of Staff Nominee Substitutes Gut Instinct About Transgender Troops for Data

by Palm Center | May 3, 2019

It became clear yesterday that Army leadership intends to backfill hypothetical justifications for DOD’s new transgender ban without evidence, following in the footsteps of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who did the same thing in an effort to “fix” President Trump’s tweeted ban. General James McConville is the nominee to become the next Chief […]

Read More

No, the National Guard Is Not Defying the Transgender Ban

by Palm Center | April 24, 2019

We’re seeing media headlines suggesting National Guard defiance of the Pentagon’s transgender ban, along the lines of “Five States Say They’ll Let Trans Troops Serve in National Guard.” But the headlines don’t quite get the story right. There is no defiance going on.  Guard leaders are saying they will use the discretion given under the […]

Read More

The Upside-Down Financial Logic of the Transgender Ban

by Palm Center | April 21, 2019

One interesting piece of information in this report is that the Army plans to hand out new dandy uniforms only after completion of basic training and initial specialty training. Why? Because during that period—measured in months—15% of enlistees drop out.  (On average, approximately one-third of enlistees fail to complete their initial term.)  But by all means, […]

Read More

The Transgender Ban’s “Grandfather” Clause Has Already Failed

by Palm Center | April 21, 2019

There ought to be some rational explanation for why Map Pesqueira, a transgender cadet already enrolled in ROTC, was dismissed despite DOD’s promise to protect people currently in officer training from the ban. But there isn’t a rational explanation. The ROTC policy failed, and DOD is holding firm in refusing to explain (or simply not […]

Read More

Transgender ROTC Cadet Faces Dismissal Regardless of Fitness for Duty

by Palm Center | April 20, 2019

  The transgender ban started injuring people so fast.  Why? Because, from DOD’s perspective, it doesn’t need to consider the accomplishments and potential that earned this cadet a military scholarship at a top national university.  It doesn’t need to consider whether he is a strong performer in ROTC. It doesn’t need to consider whether gender […]

Read More

It Took One Day for the Trump Ban to Start Harming Transgender Americans

by Palm Center | April 19, 2019

Map Pesquiera is a UT Austin ROTC student who is the first known casualty of Trump’s transgender ban. The Pentagon promised that the ban would not hurt transgender Americans who are already serving in the military or in officer training programs. It took one day for this baseless assertion to be exposed as a falsehood. […]

Read More