Trump administration ‘misled court’ about need for transgender military ban

Three former senior US military chiefs have contradicted the Trump administration’s claims in a battle over transgender soldiers.

As a January 1 deadline approaches for the military to begin to accept transgender troops under an Obama-era directive, the Trump administration has been to court to seek to push back the deadline and continue its policy of banning them.

The administration has been seeking an emergency stay to block the deadline, claiming that accepting transgender people would involve a massive bureaucratic burden and that 23,000 staff would need in-depth training on transgender issues.

It claimed: “There are considerable requirements associated with  implementing this significant and complex policy change.

“Those personnel directly responsible for execution number in the tens of thousands and are geographically dispersed across the United States.

“Specifically, implementation of a new accession policy necessitates preparation, training, and communication to ensure those responsible for application of the accession standards are thoroughly versed in the policy and its implementation procedures.”

The administration claimed that 20,367 recruiters and 2,785 employees would need training to “have a working knowledge or in-depth medical understanding of the standards and identity validation requirements associated with processing an applicant under new requirements”.

However, the claim has been rubbished in a document published today by three former military chiefs.

The three former surgeons general, Vice Admiral Donald C. Arthur, Major General Gale Pollock, and Rear Admiral Alan M. Steinman, found that contrary to the claims, the training process “is not complicated or time-consuming”.

They wrote: “Trump administration officials have claimed that in order to begin processing transgender applicants for military service

“According to the administration, training will be difficult and complex, because “no other accession standard has been implemented that presents such a multifaceted review of an applicant’s medical history” and because the military will have to “ensure that the ‘tens of thousands’ of service members ‘dispersed across the United States’ responsible for implementing accession policies ‘have a working knowledge or in-depth medical understanding of the standards.’

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