Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke published a directive Tuesday stating that byJuly 1, 2017, all Navy personnel must be properly trained...on how to deal with transgender soldiers.
"According to the message, DVDs and discussion guides will be mailed to each unit, along with copies of the commander's tool kit and a Defense Department guide being created to explain policy," reports Military.com.
No further details regarding what the training might entail have been released.
Navy spokesperson, Lt. Jessica Anderson, told Military.com that "service members are expected to maintain standards of conduct and treat each other with dignity and respect."
"We do not tolerate harassment of any kind. Treating all service members with dignity and respect is something we take extremely seriously, and when there are any indications that those values are not being followed, we will conduct appropriate investigations and take action as necessary."
Aside from the duh factor here in which military members are expected to not be horrible people, the question must be asked: is this what the armed forces should be focused on?
The primary purpose of all branches of the military is to defend the United States. Many service members aren't pleased with the decision to allow transgender individuals in the military -- and there's a definitive reason.
Independent Journal Review quotes a Marine vet by the name of Kyle:
"It's the military, its not a social experiment. Its sole purpose is to defend this country. It's already cash strapped, lacks readiness, lacks any kind of good leadership any more, and you want to put an HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)--which, btw, is very expensive--dependent individual in a remote location with little access already to medical care and all in the name of what? Equality?"
Kyle isn't alone in his thinking. Marine veteran Shaun made a similar point in the piece:
"The military isn't about 'fairness.' It's about defeating enemies and securing our citizens through a superior show of force. That showing becomes compromised when obstacles and distractions are implemented from within. This is simply one more internal distraction that has no place among the ranks of our fighting men and women."
Both Kyle and Shaun (and likely many others) don't seem to be concerned with transgender people in general, but with the effect they could have on the primary function and dynamic of the service.
That said, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation, which, according to The New York Times, showed that allowing trans individuals "to serve openly in the military would cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness."
However, paying for transitional surgery wouldn't come cheap:
"Paying for the procedures would cost the Pentagon between $2.9 million to $4.2 million a year, the report said." However, "the Pentagon each year spends $6 billion of its $610 billion budget on medical costs for active-duty service members."
If all of this doesn't hurt the military financially, it likely acts as a distraction. The military is already stretched-thin; adding the "internal distraction" of soldiers needing HRT, as well as possible gender transition surgeries, cannot be a good thing.
Transgender individuals will begin full integration into the Navy on July 1, 2017.