“It is critical,” Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason said, that the Department of Defense “be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”
The department’s “proposed policy,” she said, “is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”
Some veterans groups said the Supreme Court’s move will complicate the jobs of military commanders who lead transgender service members.
“Based on earlier policy, they’ve openly declared themselves transgender, and now we’re going to kick them out for being honest, only to possibly see this ban reversed at a future time,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran who is now chairman of VoteVets.org, a liberal veterans advocacy group. “The Supreme Court has made it harder for every commander in the military, today. They’re literally going to have to look at some of the best troops we have and kick them out for being honest about who they are.”
Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center, a research and advocacy group that focuses on sexuality and the military, said the military officials retain discretion over personnel policies.
“While it is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has allowed military discrimination to be reinstated, it’s critical to understand that the military is not required, and has no need, to reinstate the transgender ban, which would cause destabilizing whipsaws in personnel policy,” Mr. Belkin said.
“The Defense Department should not reinstate the transgender ban,” he said, “because it would undermine readiness, cause significant disruptions and uncertainty, deprive the military of much-needed talent, and wreak havoc with the lives and careers of the 14,700 transgender troops bravely protecting our nation’s security.”