Women and transgender people who serve in the military and their supporters are expressing concern that President-elect Donald Trump's administration could roll back policies that had been approved by President Barack Obama, according to The Hill.
In December 2015, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that women would be allowed in all roles in combat, and in June of 2016, he announced that transgender troops could serve openly. Both changes are being rolled out now, but could be reversed by the Trump administration.
California Rep. Jackie Speier said changing the new policies would be a mistake, because "reversing the decision to allow women to serve in military combat positions and ending the ban on allowing transgender troops to serve openly in our military would destroy so much of the recent progress made by our military and country," the California Democrat told The Hill in a statement.
"I trust President-elect Trump will recognize that women, like his daughter, are more than capable of taking on roles that were historically held only by men," Speier added. "I also trust that he will find there is no reason to ban the estimated 15,500 transgender military members currently serving our country with honor and distinction the opportunity to continue with their service without being forced to live a lie."
While running for president, Trump slammed "political correctness" in the military, but some evangelicals remain skeptical of him, based on comments he has made, such as saying on "60 Minutes" that he has no plans to change policy allowing gay marriage, calling that issue "settled."
The Hill notes that potential Trump appointees have expressed negative opinions about the policy changes. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been said to be a candidate for Secretary of Defense, has noted a Marine Corps study that said male-only combat units performed better than those with a mix of men and women.
California Rep. Duncan Hunter's chief of staff, Joe Kasper, has said Hunter hopes the Pentagon can reverse Obama's "social engineering."
Kasper said that reversing the policies might present problems for some service members, The Hill reports, such as transgender members who have already revealed their status. "There's so many different ways to approach it. For the people who came forward in the time they did, there might be some grandfathering," Kasper said.
American Military Partner Association president Ashley Broadway-Mack rejected the notion of a policy reversal, saying that many who would be affected by a policy reversal are worried.
"Once a policy is put in place and implemented, they really don't like to go back on that. It's not good for morale… There are a lot of people that are just not sure what to think. And for good reason. We really don't know what's going to happen, and the unknown can be a little nerve-wracking," she said, according to The Hill.
Transgender people will be allowed to enlist openly after a nine-month training period on the new policy passes. The period began in October, The Hill reported.
The process to allow women has already begun, but in the Marines, no woman has completed the Infantry Officer Course. In the Army, 245 female soldiers and recruits will be training for combat in 2017. One woman is already serving as an infantry officer, and ten others have completed the initial training.
Retired Marine Corps officer Kate Germano said military branches would follow Trump's order to stop the processes.
"We have a system of civilian control of the military with the commander in chief. The Army general and the Marine general will say ‘aye, aye' and execute orders," Germano said.
According to The Dallas News, the LGBT community could be under attack. "I cannot sugarcoat it. This is very, very bad," Lambda Legal CEO Rachel Tiven said.
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