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At ease: Obama eyes transgendered troops

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Army,Entitlements,Chuck Hagel,Gay rights,LGBT

Having already lifted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military, the Pentagon “likely will” allow transgendered Americans to serve openly in the military where 15,500 now secretly serve, according to a new report issued by top former generals.

Three of the top brass, endorsing the deployment of transgendered troops, also said their effort has the support of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and President Obama.

In a statement accompanying the 29-page report issued Tuesday, they said, “Our conclusion is that allowing transgender personnel to serve openly is administratively feasible and will not be burdensome or complicated. Three months have passed since Defense Secretary Hagel announced a willingness to review the military's ban on transgender service, an effort the White House indicated it supports.”

The three are retired Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, former acting surgeon general of the Army; Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, former chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps; and Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, a Yale University professor and professor emeritus at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership.

The report added, “In May 2014, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated that he is open to reviewing the rules that govern service by transgender people, an estimated 15,500 of whom serve currently in the U.S. armed forces. Following his remarks, a White House spokesperson indicated that the administration supports Secretary Hagel’s openness to a regulatory review.

“While the timing of any future policy revision is unknown, the U.S. armed forces likely will, at some point, join the 18 foreign nations and NATO allies that allow transgender personnel to serve openly.”

The report said changing the policy is up to the president. Unlike the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban repealed by Congress, the transgender ban falls “under the authority and jurisdiction of the president and secretary of defense,” said the “Report of the Planning Commission on Transgender Military Service” published by the Palm Center, an arm of San Francisco State University.

Transgendered Americans don’t see themselves as the sex they were born with and sometimes undergo hormone treatment or sex change surgery. The report suggested that the military allow those in the military who feel that way to get the medical care they need.

And once they make the change, the Pentagon should follow the British model in letting them wear the gender-appropriate uniform they feel most comfortable in.

The report said allowing transgenders to serve “reflects the core military values and principles that all military personnel should serve with honor and integrity, which means that they should not have to lie about who they are.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.