April 25, 2018

Military Chiefs of Staff Unanimous: Transgender Inclusion Has Not Harmed Unit Cohesion

San Francisco, CA – Contradicting a March 23rdPentagon report asserting that inclusive policy for transgender personnel could compromise unit cohesion, the Chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force as well as the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the incoming Commandant of the Coast Guard testified before Congress that inclusive policy has not undermined cohesion. The unanimous sentiment expressed by the Service Chiefs puts them at odds with Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has endorsed the Pentagon report.

Palm Center director Aaron Belkin said, “The Chiefs have spoken with one voice in repudiating a central tenet of the Pentagon report just weeks after its publication. The report did not offer any evidence to sustain its assertion that transgender troops harm cohesion. Now we know why: two years’ experience of inclusive service has not provided any.”

Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein became the fifth Chief to confirm that point in response to questioning yesterday from Senators. (Transcripts of each testimony before Congress are included, below.)

 BACKGROUND: Congressional Testimony of the Military Chiefs of Staff Unanimously Agree Transgender Inclusion Has Not Harmed Unit Cohesion

 APRIL 12th– United States Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:“Are you aware of any problems with unit cohesion arising…Have you [heard] anything about how transgender service members are harming unit cohesion?”

USA Chief of Staff General Mark Milley:“No, not at all. We have a finite number. We know who they are and it is monitored very closely because I am concerned about that and want to make sure that they are in fact treated with dignity and respect and no, I have received precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale and all those sorts of things. No.”

APRIL 17th– United States Coast Guard Commandant (Incoming), Vice Admiral Karl Schultz

Senator Tammy Baldwin:​“Vice Admiral Schultz, based on the Coast Guard’s experience and your own experience as the commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area, are you aware of any disciplinary or unit cohesion issues resulting from the opening of service to transgender individuals on June 30, 2016? If so, can you tell me how they have been handled by unit leadership?”

(Incoming) ​USCG Commandant Vice Admiral Karl Schultz:“I am not aware of any disciplinary or unit cohesion issues resulting from the opening of the Coast Guard to transgender individuals.”

APRIL 19th– United States Navy Chief Naval Officer, Admiral Jon Richardson and United States Marine Corps Commandant, General Robert Neller

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:“General Milley told me that there were precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion or morale as a result of open transgender service. Are you aware of any issue resulting from open transgender service?”

USN CNO Admiral Jon Richardson:“We treat every one of those sailors with dignity and respect that is warranted by wearing the uniform of the United States Navy. By virtue of that approach, I’m not aware of any issues.”

USMC Commandant General Robert Neller:“By reporting those marines that have come forward, there are 27 Marines that have identified as transgender, I am not aware of any issues in those areas.”

APRIL 23rd– United States Air Force Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand​:“Other service chiefs have told me there were zero issues of morale or discipline resulting from open transgender service, are you aware of any?”

USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein:  “The way you present the question, I have not.”