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Posted on Mar 14, 2019 Print this Article

Issue 55: March 2019

This edition of CMR E-Notes reports on two major issues that should be addressed by the next Secretary of Defense. Developments on the Trump/Mattis transgender policy have been promising.  The Administration has announced that implementation will begin on April 12, which is very good news.

In February, CMR pushed back against former Obama Administration officials who have criticized the new Trump/Mattis military transgender policy.

Also linked below is a newly-published analysis of the still-unresolved issue of "Draft Our Daughters" mandates, which would impose Selective Service obligations on young women.  The underlying question is whether women should be assigned to direct ground combat units such as the infantry. Congress and the next Secretary of Defense should reveal all research findings, which are required to make informed decisions about these issues.

       1.  Trump/Mattis Military Transgender Policy: Update #5

As CMR reported in Update #4, in January the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) granted a request from the Department of Justice for stays of lower district court national injunctions that have been blocking implementation of the Trump/Mattis military transgender policy.

In three of the four pending lawsuits (Washington, D.C., Seattle, WA, and Riverside, CA), the ruling gave the Department of Defense (DoD) a green light to implement the Trump/Mattis policy regarding persons who suffer from gender dysphoria, pending further litigation.

The Pentagon waited for an expected decision by the fourth U.S. District Court in Baltimore, MD. On March 8, the Baltimore judge lifted his own preliminary injunction against the Trump/Mattis policy, in compliance with the January SCOTUS ruling:

On March 12, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist announced that the new policy would be implemented on April 12:

It appears that the Supreme Court is prepared to rule in the government's favor when cases are heard on the merits. Still, litigation is pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California, and there are no guarantees.

This is a concise, 4-page CMR Policy Analysis summarizing major reasons why the Defense Department adopted a new policy that assigns priority to mission readiness and combat lethality:

Implementation will benefit the military, and it is long overdue.

2.  Obama Officials Launch Unfair Attack on Trump/Mattis Transgender Policies

On March 6, Ray Mabus, Deborah Lee James, and Eric Fanning, former Secretaries of the Navy, Air Force, and Army, respectively, issued a statement criticizing the Trump/Mattis military transgender policy.  The Palm Center, an academic LGBT activist group, orchestrated the statement. This is a link to CMR's response:

The CMR News Release highlighted the statement of Acting Defense Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness James N. Stewart, who testified at the February 27 Personnel Subcommittee hearing chaired by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA).  Stewart's statement accurately reflected the 2018 Trump/Mattis policy and legal arguments in defense of it being made in several federal courts.

The news release also quoted testimony from former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who said in testimony last year that military people were not consulted before the Obama Administration's transgender policies were imposed by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.  Mattis also noted that under the Obama/Mattis policies, reports about problems were prohibited.

3.  Congress to Blame for "Draft Our Daughters' Court Ruling

On February 22, Texas District Judge Gray H. Miller declared that the current Selective Service System, which imposes registration requirements and penalties for non-compliance on young men only, is unconstitutional.

The San Diego-based National Coalition for Men (NCFM) had sued Selective Service on behalf of two draft-age male plaintiffs, one of whom resides in Texas. The plaintiffs claimed that male-only registration requirements violate men's equal protection rights.

Judge Miller agreed and issued a 19-page declaratory judgment in their favor.  (The ruling stopped short of an injunction ordering immediate repeal or revision of the law.)

This article explains who is responsible for this problematic ruling:

This comprehensive CMR Policy Analysis explains why bi-partisan blame for his ruling primarily belongs to Congress:

The articles above also report on the activities of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, which invited Elaine Donnelly to present a statement on November 15, 2018.

The commission is seeking comments and statements from individuals and organizations who wish to be heard on these issues.  If you or your organization would like to be heard, write to the Commission at 2530 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000, Box #63, Arlington, Virginia 22202.  The Commission will be accepting comments until December 31, 2019 at this website:

4.  Articles of Interest to CMR

The following articles, from various sources, cover recent developments and leading opinions on military/social issues:

* * * * * *

More information is available on the website of the Center for Military Readiness, CMR is an independent public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social policies. 

Posted on Mar 14, 2019 Print this Article