As the reality of a Trump administration sets in, 31 retired military officers have come out of the woodwork to urge Trump not to roll back progressive and inclusive policies in the military.
The statement, published by the Palm Center, is an attempt to consolidate and maintain progressive military policies introduced during the Obama administration, namely the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011, the end of the ban on transgenders serving openly, the opening of all combat roles to women and the pioneering of aggressive diversity policies to drive up the rate of minorities serving in the military.
“As retired Flag and General Officers, we believe the incoming administration must firmly commit to ensuring steady leadership of our armed forces based on proven principles of military readiness,” the retired officers said in a statement. “More than half a century of history and research has made clear that an inclusive military that prioritizes talent and ability over social judgment and personal prejudice is an essential ingredient of an effective fighting force.”
“This is especially true in a diverse nation like ours, which molds millions of individuals from countless different backgrounds into a unified whole capable of defending our nation and its interests,” the officers added. “For generations, women and LGBT service members have been a crucial part of the most effective military in the world, and their service has shown that they are highly capable warriors and that their peers are capable of serving alongside them. No action should be taken to denigrate their honorable service, or to deprive the armed forces of their indispensable contributions.”
Despite fear from these retired officers, openly gay Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning said Wednesday he’s skeptical the incoming administration will bother reversing progressive policies in the military, partly because it’s “very hard” to do so.
Fanning also argued that the Obama administration’s policies do not represent the “high point” of social progress and emphasized that there’s much more work left to be done to foster inclusion in the military.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter also tried to reaffirm the importance of allowing women access to all combat roles in advance of the Trump administration taking over.
But since Congress has passed no laws on the issue, it would actually be fairly easy for a Trump administration to roll back women in combat.
The American Military Partner Association, the largest organization in the country dedicated to representing LGBT families in the military, applauded the statement as pushback to calls to roll back alleged social progress in the services.
“We applaud these 31 retired military officers for speaking out against any attempts to undermine the incredibly important progress we’ve made for LGBT service members and their families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack in a statement. “Many of our LGBT military families are on edge over comments that have been made by potential new administration officials, and it’s a distraction from the mission that no military family should have to face. All of our nation’s heroes, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s crucially important that any efforts by anti-LGBT activists to target minority service members be stopped.”
GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early supporter of Trump, advocated for the Trump administration to remove social engineering policies that have polluted the warrior mindset. Hunter wants an end to transgenders serving openly and an end to women in combat. He also wants a return to the word “man” in Navy and Marine Corps job titles.
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