Air Force Secretary certain transgenders will serve in more open way

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( — Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” on Friday that she is “certain” that transgender people will be allowed to serve in the U.S. military “in a more open way.”

“I think the review on the transgender policy should be complete within the next few months would be my best guess. It’s proceeding. These are somewhat complex issues, and by the way, I am certain that the policy is going to change. I’m certain that transgenders will be allowed to serve in a more open way,” said James.

According to a Dec. 10, 2014 USA Today article, James told Capital Download, “Times change,” adding that the policy “is likely to come under review in the next year or so.” When she was asked whether allowing transgenders to serve in the military would affect military readiness, she replied: “From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in July 2015 that he was ordering a six-month study to end a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

“The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions,” Carter said in a statement at the time. “At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite.”

“You’ve spoken about how you believe that transgender troops should be allowed to serve openly in the military. That policy has been in development as I understand it in the Pentagon. Can you tell us when you expect that that policy’s going to approved and the ban withdrawn?” USA Today Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook asked James.

“What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to get some of the particulars figured out, some of the specific policy matters underneath that umbrella policy matter so that we do it correctly, that we roll it out correctly, that if there’s training required, that we have that in place, that we explain to commanders and to the rest of the troops how we’re going to proceed in the future. So I would expect it’s within the next few months,” James said.

“Are there strong objections within the uniform services to this? Do you get a sense that there’s reaction against allowing transgender troops to serve openly?” Brook asked.

“Again, there’s differing opinions on this, but I think the piece of this – which is the one that is under the greatest review and discussion at the moment – is the accession of new people who are transgenders. How do we do that? How do we approach that? That’s the piece that is the final piece that we’re trying to get right,” James said.

— Written by Melanie Hunter