Smith Statement on the Defense Department’s New Policy on Transgender Servicemembers

Washington, DC- Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Defense Department’s newly announced policy on transgender servicemembers:

“This policy is an important step toward ensuring that our military is strong and inclusive. It will protect the rights of transgender individuals who already serve in the U.S. armed forces, with minimal impact on the operations of the Department of Defense.

“These changes will involve a very small number of individuals serving in the armed forces, on the order of 0.1 percent of the approximate total of two million active and reserve members in the U.S military. The evidence indicates that modernizing our policy in this way will not meaningfully reduce readiness. In fact, according to research by the RAND Corporation and retired flag officers, it should enhance readiness by enabling commanders to better provide for the needs of the men and women they lead. Similar policies have already been adopted by U.S. allies such as Israel, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“By providing clarity for the service branches and removing an obsolete policy that has made it more difficult for our men and women in uniform to do their jobs, this policy will strengthen, not reduce, the military’s ability to defend the United States.”