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The Biden administration’s efforts to revise and extend radical policies affecting the culture of the U.S. military and the status of certain service members may make 2023 one of the most transformative years in the history of this nation’s armed services, changing the institution beyond recognition, policy analysts and commentators have told The Epoch Times.
President Biden tends to rely on executive orders and revisions to past instructions to force through far-reaching changes and remake the military, especially with regard to official policy on transgender service members. These orders and their consequences are not always widely reported, hence the changes do not always undergo extensive public scrutiny or debate, the experts say.
The changes affect everything from the ease with which a male service member may choose to identify as female and thereby gain access to women’s facilities and sports teams, to the etiquette that commanders must use when referring to transgender persons or issues.
“The public pays little attention to the internal activities in federal agencies, even the Defense Department. When these stories pop up, they are quickly overwhelmed by bigger events,” Keith Naughton, the principal of Silent Majority Strategies, a Germantown, Maryland-based think tank, told The Epoch Times.
“It is a stark reminder of the power of the president and the executive branch, the relatively low power of the courts, and the importance of winning elections,” Naughton added.
In agreement with this judgment is Susan Katz Keating, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine and a commentator on military policy.
“A lot of this goes under the radar because the public doesn’t really watch for it. So many changes are ‘stealth directives’ that don’t get noticed while the public pays attention to other issues,” Keating told The Epoch Times.
The administration has not waited for public attention to catch up with its plans to remake the military according to a highly specific set of criteria, the experts say. While changes have been underway for years in policies concerning race and gender diversity, and have gained momentum under President Joe Biden, the administration’s resolve to refashion the military into what it considers a more inclusive and representative institution is especially evident in the area of transgender policy.
Recent revisions to Department of Defense (DoD) rules originally issued under the administration of President Barack Obama are indicative of the aggressive stance of the current administration, according to a new policy analysis prepared by the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), a Livonia, Michigan-based nonprofit. The analysis is entitled “Biden Pentagon Quietly Expands Woke Transgender Policies in the Military.”
The CMR’s analysis compares the Obama-era directive, DoD Instruction 1300.28—InService Transition for Transgender Service Members, with the new version incorporating alterations made at Biden’s behest on Dec. 20, 2022.
The analysis cites significant differences, namely, changes to approved DoD vocabulary to foster a supposedly more inclusive environment for transgender persons; extending official transgender policies to apply to Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs and military service academies; holding commanders personally liable for any “biases against transgender individuals”; permitting cross-dressing and other activities that fall under the rubric of “transitioning,” not only off-base but even on military installations; approving “de-transitioning” procedures in certain circumstances; and imposing restrictions on the gathering and disclosure of data concerning “incidents of harmful behavior” that involve transgender personnel and/or sexual orientation.
None of these changes serve the purpose of military readiness, combat effectiveness, the minimization of U.S. casualties, or any of the other criteria that have guided military policy in the past, the analysis contends. Rather, they serve a highly specific political and social agenda more in line with the ideological bent of people outside the armed forces.
“These mandates are prime examples of woke-ism in the military, defined as policies that impose progressive ideology and take them to extremes with enforced compliance, even if it hurts the institution,” the CMR’s analysis states.
The analysis details a number of examples of a new jargon regarding transgender persons and their status that DoD Instruction 1300.28, incorporating Biden’s changes, now makes part of official military lingo. For instance, the term “self-identified gender” has replaced the phrase “preferred gender,” a change that the CMR takes to indicate a new way of looking at the question of gender identity.
“The nuance suggests that if a person ‘self-identifies’ as a person of the opposite sex, they must be treated as such, even though changes in appearance cannot change biological sex,” the CMR analysis states.
“The DoD Instruction rests on the false premise that a different ‘gender role,’ if recognized by a bureaucratic change in a person’s ‘gender marker,’ is the same as or equivalent to a change in biological sex. Therefore, a man claiming to be a woman must be treated as a woman, and vice versa,” the analysis continues.
The CMR views one potential consequence of extending Obama-era and current transgender policies to the civilian ROTC and service academies as the very real possibility that male cadets or midshipmen may join women’s athletic teams or even end up with assignments to live in female quarters. The analysis notes that male athletes who chose to “self-identify” as women have won scholarships and prevailed in championships where the contestants in theory were all women. It argues that enrollment in service academies may continue to decline as a consequence of such abuses.
The problems and controversies are likely to continue to escalate given the ease with which male cadets can obtain official classification as women without having undergone sex-change surgery, the analysis continues. A male cadet can get approval from a doctor to change his gender classification within the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and thereby become eligible to use female restrooms, locker rooms, and living quarters. The CMR’s analysis quotes a phrase that recurs in the DoD Instruction: “For facilities subject to regulation by the military, service members will use those berthing, bathroom, or shower facilities associated with their gender marker in DEERS.”
In such a scenario, the possibilities for widespread violations of privacy and sexual misconduct are obvious, the CMR policy analysis suggests.
The net effect of the Biden administration’s active remaking of the military in accordance with progressive principles is a rapid decline in respect for and trust in the institution among those who made the commitment to serve. The CMR’s policy analysis cites a Heritage Foundation study which found that 68 percent of active-duty personnel have concerns about the increasing politicization of the military, and that the same percentage said these concerns would lead them to have doubts about encouraging their offspring to pursue a military career.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the DoD for comment.
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