Military | KERA News

Military

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving an Obama-era policy on transgender military service members largely intact, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban that would keep transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Trump barred transgender would-be recruits from signing up, but he gave Mattis discretion to decide the status of transgender people who are already serving.

Updated at 7:25 p.m.

President Trump has signed a memo implementing his new policy on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

A senior White House official told reporters that no transgender individuals will be allowed to join the armed services unless and until the secretary of defense and secretary of homeland security recommend otherwise.

Transgender members of the U.S. military would be subject to removal at Defense Secretary James Mattis' discretion — and the service would bar transgender people from enlisting, under new White House guidelines for the Pentagon. President Trump announced the ban via a tweet last month.

Rough details of the guidelines were confirmed by NPR's Tom Bowman after the White House plan for the Pentagon was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Five openly transgender members of the U.S. military are suing President Trump and other leaders of the U.S. government over Trump's declaration, over Twitter, that trans people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. The suit alleges that Trump's directive is "arbitrary and capricious," unconstitutionally depriving the service members of due process.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that the government will not allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, a year after the Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender service members.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, he wrote:

America's Never-Ending State Of War

Aug 15, 2016
Shutterstock

The United States spends over $600 billion on the military and defense. That’s more than the next seven countries combined and 10 times the budget of the State Department.

Meredith Rizzo / NPR

The topic for this week’s Friday Conversation is the militarization of language. KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, goes into the trenches with Mark Memmott, standards and practices editor for NPR.

Army Ranger Justin Slaby served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. While he was back in the U.S. preparing to deploy for a fourth tour, his left hand was blown off by a faulty grenade in a training accident. After being fitted with a state-of-the-art prosthesis, Slaby was encouraged by one of his doctors to try for a career in the FBI. What happened next has landed the ex-Ranger and the FBI in court and already tarnished the career of a high-ranking agent.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

PART 2 OF A KERA NEWS SERIES: Imagine heading into surgery. Instead of a doctor’s soothing voice, you hear the whirs and beeps of R2D2. OK, so Star Wars droids aren’t holding the scalpel, but robotic techniques are radically changing the world of medicine. And North Texas hospitals are harnessing the power of robots.

The celebration was boisterous but bittersweet, on the last day of DFW Airport’s Welcome Home A Hero program. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports that after eight years, the program is ending because fewer troops are returning to the states for some R&R.

woodleywonderworks / (cc) flickr

President Obama’s mortgage relief for military service members and homeowners with Federal Housing Administration loans could affect up to three million people. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports that may impact just a fraction of those who need help.