President Trump’s ban on transgender people from serving in the military, announced via a series of tweets may not have been coordinated with the Pentagon, but it could affect thousands, Deutsche Welle reports.
Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to make public a significant policy shift.
In three consecutive messages President Trump revoked the Obama administration’s policy instituted last year to allow transgender military personnel to serve openly.
As a reason for his move, which was announced during the vacation of Pentagon chief James Mattis, Trump cited the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” that transgender service members would cost.
But a study on the issue conducted last year by the Rand Corporation appears to contradict the rationale given by President Trump.
“I can’t speculate on the president’s decision or his tweets,” said Radha Iyengar, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation, “but I can say that the statements on the costs are not consistent with the evidence that we have available.”
“We are looking at maybe 25 to 130 active component service members seeking surgeries that could have any kind of impact on their ability to deploy out of a total of 1.3 million service members and health care costs that are less than one-tenth of one percent of the total health care costs of the military,” said Iyengar, concluding that “we found all of the costs to be negligible.”
In its study, Rand estimated that up to 6,630 transgender people serve in the military.
Rand researchers also looked at countries with comparable operational military costs such as Australia, Canada, Britain, and Israel – who allow transgender personnel to serve openly – and found no significant impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.