Trump says transgender servicepeople cause “tremendous medical costs.”
Kristen Beck (left) is the first Navy Seal to come out as transgender. Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted he will reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender people to serve in the military. According to his tweets, Trump believes transgender people should not serve “in any capacity” because of the “tremendous medical costs” associated with transgender military personnel.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017\n
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017\n
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017\n
But Trump’s rationale completely contradicts a 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Department of Defense (DOD). The study concluded that transgender people would have “minimal impact” on readiness or health care costs. Transgender people make up a relatively small portion of military personnel. Estimates show they represent between 1,320 to 6,630 members of a 1.3 million-member force.
When it comes to medical needs unique to the transgender community, the study estimates there will be 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year with 25 to 130 gender confirmation-related surgeries among active service members. This could cost the DOD between $2.4 to $8.4 million annually. In 2014, the DOD’s health care expenses were $49.3 billion.
Trump states the reason transgender people should not serve “in any capacity” is because of $8.4 million in additional expenditures while the national security state costs American taxpayers over $1 trillion a year. Surely, the government could find an extra couple million somewhere in the budget to allow transgender people to serve. So maybe there is another reason why Trump and his administration don’t want transgender people to serve? Could it be that Trump is creating a wedge issue that will help galvanize support among social conservatives in the 2018 and 2020 elections?
Here are 10 ways the military has no problem spending taxpayer money while claiming that transgender service people are too expensive.
— $8.5 trillion in U.S. military spending is unaccounted for.
Due to the military’s convoluted bookkeeping systems, trillions in taxpayer dollars allocated by Congress since 1996 has never been accounted for.
— $1 trillion is spent on the national security state.
Between the Pentagon, war budget, developing and maintaining nuclear warheads, homeland security, military aid, intelligence, veterans benefits, and the defense’s share of interest on the debt, taxpayers pay $1.09 trillion annually.
— $406 billion is the cost for the F-35s and other fighter aircraft plus facilities.
Even Trump has criticized the Pentagon for the rising costs of producing over 2,400 fighter jets.
— $125 billion goes to Pentagon waste.
The Pentagon buried a study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget.
— $54 billion sought for increased military spending.
Trump has asked for a huge spending increase for 2018 but won’t ask for an extra $8.4 million for transgender servicepeople.
— $18 billion went to the future combat system.
According to defense industry consultant Loren Thompson, the American taxpayer got “nothing out of” this now-defunct program to build a brigade’s worth of high-tech equipment.
— $8 billion was dropped on the Comanche helicopter.
A lot of money was spent between 1983 and 2004, but not a single operational aircraft was ever produced.
— $2 billion is used by unnecessary bases.
The military has requested permission to launch another round of base closures, but Congress won’t allow it.
— $80 million has been spent on an “Iron Man” suit.
The DOD is pouring millions into a wearable weapon it calls the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), otherwise known as the “Iron Man” suit.
— $28 million has gone toward Afghan army uniforms.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has criticized Pentagon officials for spending millions on uniforms for the Afghan Army featuring lush, forest-designed camouflage.