May 24, 2016

General Officers Question Army Chief of Staff’s Statement on Transgender Service

New York Times Quote by General Milley Called a “Refusal to Follow the Science

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Three retired General Officers have sent a letter to Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley in response to his concerns about transgender military service. Despite extensive study by a Pentagon Working Group, the RAND Corporation, and an independent commission of retired General Officers and leading scholars and experts, General Milley suggested recently that before the military can lift its ban on transgender personnel, “serious significant issues need to be completely vetted and studied.”

Generals Claudia Kennedy, Gale Pollock and Clara Adams-Ender observe in today’s letter, however, that “the problem is not a lack of inquiry or a failure to identify simple, straightforward solutions,” but rather, that “some military leaders don’t like what the science has already told us,” and they “refus[e] to assess transgender personnel by the same standards that apply to everyone else.”

According to Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin, “When the Marine Corps conducted a faulty study about women in combat, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus stated that arguments based on distorted research were not an option.” Belkin added that, “Given the exhaustive research that the military as well as independent experts have already completed on transgender service, General Milley’s call for additional study is just as misleading.”

Generals Kennedy, Pollock and Adams-Ender state in today’s letter that if there are new, honest and evidence-based objections to transgender military service, then those concerns should be identified so that they can be assessed and resolved. “But to insist that the issue must be studied and vetted when that has already been done (many times),” they conclude, “is to compromise core values that have served as the bedrock of military culture throughout our nation’s history.”