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US Joint Chiefs Say There Will Be No Modifications to Military’s Transgender Policy, For Now

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (aka the leaders of the Defense Department) released a memo on Thursday assuring military officers that the military’s transgender policy will remain unchanged for now following President Trump’s shocking tweets on Wednesday morning.

Apparently U.S. citizens weren’t the only ones blindsided by the tweets. The officials told CNN that even the Joint Chiefs were unaware of Trump’s plan to tweet a ban on transgender military service.

In his memo, Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford assured officials that there will be “no modifications” to the transgender policy for the time being and that the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect,” Politico reports.

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary as issued implementation guidance.” Basically, tweeting something doesn’t make it legally binding. “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” Dunford continued. “As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”

Dunford’s statement suggests Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not been given any presidential direction on changing the policy, despite Trump’s tweet about his consultation with his “generals and military experts,” leaving us to wonder who exactly he did consult. Republican Sen. John McCain seemed surprised as well, commenting on Thursday, “I think generally speaking, it’s accepted you consult the Secretary of Defense before you make a decision that has to do with defending the nation.”

Since Mattis has been away on vacation all week, according to CBS News, we have yet to hear a statement from him. But less than a month ago, Mattis told military chiefs to conduct a six-month review weighing the pros and cons of allowing transgender persons to enlist—so the review that still has months to go. Mattis also said at the time that the delay “does not presuppose the outcome of the review,” but Trump’s recent tweets might imply otherwise.

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Dania De La Hoya

Illinois State

Dania De La Hoya is a senior at Illinois State University double majoring in Journalism and French. She hopes to one day work for anything from a magazine to a newspaper to a TV station. Her biggest goal is to one day publish a fiction novel. When she is not writing or juggling three languages, she can be found binge-watching her latest obsession on Netflix, eating guacamole, or petting cute dogs. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @daniadelahoya.
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