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Posted on Aug 17, 2017 Print this Article

Issue 47: August 2017

President Trump Supports Troops by Calling for Return to

Pre-Obama Policy on Transgenders


  1.   CMR Confronts Media Misinformation

For several weeks, major media outlets have been trying to drive a wedge between President Donald Trump and the troops he leads.  This article, featured on the new CMR website, exposes and analyzes the misleading media meme:

Pentagon and military leaders have said they are awaiting orders spelling out ways to return to pre-Obama policies regarding transgenders in the military.  This does not mean they are “pushing back” against President Trump.

CMR’s article also analyzes the widely-disparate estimates of costs involved in retaining or recruiting persons who suffer from gender dysphoria – a psychological condition involving confusion about gender identity.  CMR’s analysis likely will be useful as liberal media keep trying to advance false narratives about the transgender issue.

For example, The Hill recently came to exaggerated conclusions in this article about recently-confirmed Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer:

We don’t know a lot about the new Navy Secretary yet, but his statement could be interpreted in at least two ways.  The Hill demonstrates one way, imagining defiance of Trump.  This is a stretch, at best, in view of this comment from Spencer:

“‘We will process and take direction of a policy that is developed by the [Defense] secretary [with] direction from the president and march out smartly.’

The Hill further reported, “After visiting Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, Secretary Spencer also told reporters, ‘On a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.”

Actually, there is no right to serve in the military.  It is not just another equal opportunity employer.  Spencer deserves the benefit of the doubt, primarily because of his first statement about obeying orders, and for another simple reason that many observers overlook.

The phrase “all requirements,” until President Obama changed the rules in 2015, included the requirement not to be suffering from gender dysphoria.  It is a psychological condition that was one of many disqualifying factors, such as claustrophobia, anorexia, or chronic sea-sickness, which detract from personal readiness to deployability.

Individuals having disqualifying factors are patriots and good people, but they are not eligible to serve because they do not meet “all requirements.”

The Executive Branch and the Congress are constantly changing rules, regulations, and laws.  It simply can’t be true that once a benefit is established, a qualification imposed, or a disqualification removed, they can never be re-imposed or otherwise altered.  This would seem especially true in the military personnel policy arena.  The number of troops needed, their physical qualifications, their educational standards, and their health status can and will change due to new and emerging threats, information, and changing policy priorities.

Secretary Mattis Questions Credibility of RAND

During a Pentagon conversation with reporters, Defense Secretary Mattis openly questioned the credibility of RAND reports estimating the costs and consequences of retaining and recruiting transgenders in the military.  As reported here, this is a sign of progress.

Dan Lamothe, Washington Post: Mattis Says the Pentagon is Still Studying Transgender Military Service, Three Weeks After Trump Called for Ban

The article also quotes CMR President Elaine Donnelly, who noted that all Obama-era policies are triggered to go into effect on January 1, 2018, unless President Trump and Secretary Mattis issue new orders.  “I believe they will,” said Donnelly, “but orders will have to be “consistent, principled, and defendable in court.” 

She added that as new readiness-first policies take effect, any exceptions to eligibility rules would be “narrow, few, and temporary.”

This article, by former Army captain and Afghanistan war veteran James Hasson, joins CMR in challenging misleading media memes:

This editorial encourages President Trump to issue appropriate directives and defend them in court:

Additional articles of interest are here:

     2.   Chairman John McCain Holding Up Army General Counsel Nominee Over “Draft America’s Daughters” Disagreement

Senator John McCain deserves support while he is on medical leave fighting cancer in his brain.  As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, however, Senator McCain should be held accountable for what he has said and done - or not done.

As CMR reported last year, Chairman McCain strongly favors registering young women for Selective Service and universal national service.  After an intense debate about "Draft America's Daughters" legislation in 2016, Chairman McCain used his power to set up a special three-year Commission on Selective and National Service.  The “McCain/Obama Commission” is loaded with like-minded members who will spend $45 million promoting Chairman McCain's pet cause.

It appears that this is not enough for Chairman McCain.  On April 28 President Trump nominated Ryan Dean Newman, a former Army captain and decorated Iraq veteran, to be Army General Counsel.  The nomination has languished without a hearing, reportedly because Newman told McCain that he does not share the Chairman's views on Selective Service: 

If the news report is accurate, Chairman McCain is out of line.  Nominees should not be expected to swear allegiance to McCain's problematic "Draft America's Daughters" cause as the price of confirmation to a well-deserved Pentagon position.

Note:  Chairman McCain has criticized President Trump for calling for action on the transgender issue.  This is ironic, since Chairman McCain has not conducted hearings on the high costs and consequences of President Obama's unilateral transgender mandates, which Congress should have questioned years ago.

   3.  Are Military Recruiters Leveling With Young Female Prospects?

For patriotic young women seeking adventure as well as a college education, military service always has been a good option to consider.  But thanks to feminists who believe that men and women should be treated the same in the combat arms, expectations have changed.

Julie Pulley, a graduate of West Point, a former Army Captain, and Afghanistan veteran, joined with RADM Hugh Scott, USN (Ret.), an expert in military medical standards, to co-author a Los Angeles Times op-ed that ought to be posted in high school counseling offices nationwide:

Pulley and Scott express concern about the consequences of percentage-based gender diversity metrics (quotas), which are causing recruiters to aggressively target high school female athletes with ads that glamorize close-combat while holding back hard truths about risks.  For many reasons, women are disadvantaged when competing with men, largely due to biological realities:

“Obviously, men and women are not the same.  On average, an adult male produces 10 times more testosterone than an adult female, which almost doubles his muscle mass.  (The average woman possesses only 55% to 58% of the upper body strength of the average man.)

“Testosterone also causes development of a heavier and stronger skeleton in males and has a specific effect on shaping the male pelvis, adding greater strength for load-bearing tasks and enabling more efficient locomotion.”

The article lists several specific gender-differences that make it necessary for women “to constantly work at a higher percentage of their maximal capacity to achieve the same performance as men,” adding, “No training system can close the gap.”  Efforts to build strength by minimizing female hormones can make matters worse, due to higher risks of stress fractures.

The authors agree, “Women are essential in America’s armed services. Unfortunately, disproportionate injuries and even physical disability are facts of life for many who serve.  In targeting young women for recruitment into close-combat jobs, the Department of Defense must ensure they are fully informed of the risks, and as women take on other formerly restricted roles, their health must be meticulously documented and studied.”

   4. Update: Gender-Mixed Training & Ground Combat Assignment Results

In 2016, Marine Corps Training & Education Command (TECOM) leaders initiated new training programs to prepare female recruits for the physical demands of assignments in formerly all-male direct ground combat units such as the infantry.  The plan introduced a two-tiered system of qualification standards in the early months of enlisted training.  The bifurcated basic physical fitness and combat fitness (PFT and CFT) training tests recognize differences between male and female capabilities, but also allow women to enter combat arms training if they score at higher levels.

To get a maximum score in basic training, for example, male Marines between 17–20 years old must do 20 pull-ups; women must do 7.  Recruits who achieve higher scores on PFT and CFT tests may enter combat arms training, where they must meet occupational requirements that apply on a gender-neutral basis.

Results of the revised training tests are not consistent with media and feminist expectations.

Only 1% of recruits were women seeking combat arms contracts, and of these, only 25% (13 of 51) qualified in initial tests to attempt combat arms occupational (MOS) training.  The pass rate for men was 97%.

Similar pass/fail rates occurred last year, FY 2016.  Six of 24 female recruits (also 25%) met MOS Classification Standards, compared to 96% of the men.  Female recruits who do not seek such assignments and training are eligible for other non-combat occupations.

The Times also reported that in recent years 278 enlisted women entered formerly all-male MOSs such as armor and artillery, with three having different occupations in an infantry unit since January.  A female officer is currently attempting to succeed on the Marine Infantry Officer Course (IOC), which 31 previous women failed to pass.  She is doing so despite unfortunate attempts to publicize her progress as an answer to the embarrassing “Marines United” photo-sharing scandal last March.

No women have completed Marine Special Operations (MARSOC) training, and a single woman dropped out before attempting Navy SEAL basic training (BUDs), which is so tough 75% of male trainees fail.

Physical differences that disadvantage women in the combat arms, and put them at greater risk for debilitating injuries, are very real.  Pressures to meet gender diversity quotas in the combat arms, while withholding information that young women have a right to know, should come to an end.

   5. Congratulations to Law Prof. William A. Woodruff

The Center for Military Readiness appreciates and congratulates Law Professor William A. “Woody” Woodruff, who recently retired after 25 years teaching law to thousands of students at Campbell Law School in Buies Creek and Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Woody” Woodruff is a person of unquestioned integrity, who has always been generous with his time in sharing with CMR his extensive knowledge of military law.  Before joining the Campbell Law faculty, Woodruff was a Colonel in the U.S. Army.  He served as the Chief, Army Litigation Division, where he directed civil litigation involving Army policies, programs and activities.  Best wishes and thanks to Woody and his family as he begins the next phase of a life well-lived.


* * * * * *

The Center for Military Readiness, founded in 1993, is an independent, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  Nothing in this article should be construed as an endorsement of any candidate or legislation. More information on all issues discussed is available on the CMR website,



Posted on Aug 17, 2017 Print this Article