Lieutenant Gen. Tom Spoehr (Ret.), director of The Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense, released the following statement Friday in response to the Trump administration's announcement of new policies regarding the service of transgender individuals in the United States military:
“Military readiness is not just about adequate troop levels and spare parts for aircraft, but perhaps, most importantly, concerns the ability of individual service members to defend the nation at a moment’s notice. The requirements of military service are clear: every individual in uniform must be able to deploy, fight, and win in the worst of conditions, without any reliance on a daily flow of medications, medical treatment, or special provision. We must also be certain our service members have the mental resilience to withstand the proven trauma of combat and the stress of prolonged deployments in austere environments. All are necessary standards if U.S. forces are going to prevail on distant battlefields.
“Secretary Mattis recently, and properly, announced that every uniformed member of the military must be deployable. The armed forces are not a petri dish for social experimentation, nor is military service a guaranteed right; rather, our military is the first line of defense for America’s own unique experiment in liberty.
“Moving forward, however, Sec. Mattis and the Department of Defense should have the ability to make case-by-case determinations about the continued service of those currently in uniform. The military faces a personnel readiness crisis, with 71 percent of young Americans between ages 17-24 unfit for active service. To apply too broad a standard in evaluating those currently serving could prove to be a disservice to those individuals, and to the military as a whole.”