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Combat Readiness, Not Social Issues, Should Be Our Army’s Focus

Veteran weighs in on why controversial policies set to go into effect July 1 were postponed for six more months

There’s a common belief that the United States armed forces is the perfect setting to conduct social experiments. I’ve always thought of the U.S. Army as something separate from everyday society in many different ways. The mission carried out by the U.S. military is— first and foremost — to remain combat-ready and effective.

I joined during a time in which I had to sign a waiver stating that disclosure of same-sex orientation would get me booted from the military. This didn’t raise any red flags in terms of wanting to continue with my enlistment.

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Times have changed — not only for the United States, but for the armed forces. I never thought I would see the day gay marriage was not only accepted, but embraced within the military community. While I support wholeheartedly the rights of all human beings to marry whom they wish, I’m conflicted about other issues and the possible impact they have on combat readiness.

Over the past few years, activists have fought battles to alter the landscape and culture of the United States armed forces. Many of those have never served a day in their lives. They don’t understand the environment.

The latest battle over allowing transgender people to enlist in the military has caused a lot of buzz within the military. Policies that were set to go into effect on July 1 were postponed for six more months due to concerns about medical treatment and its effect on those suffering from gender dysphoria. The delay in accepting new recruits who identify as transgender has no impact on those currently serving as openly transgender soldiers.

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While different political entities battle among each other to point fingers at such a huge decision being delayed, it’s important to understand and fully recognize the implications these decisions have on the military. With strange new developments within —such as women in combat — sometimes the need for political correctness outweighs reality. That reality is that the Armed Forces hasn’t changed from being a fighting force. Service members who are traditionally trained for combat now find themselves undergoing training for something completely unrelated.

Related: Trump Shows His Great Respect for Our Military

But I digress.

The main concern moving forward with transgender recruits is the enormous burden of medical treatment. Transgender individuals would have their sex reassignment surgeries fully funded through their medical insurance provided by the military. These treatments carry an astronomical price tag.

Gender dysphoria is a psychological condition that sees individuals identifying as a gender different from what they were biologically assigned. So the greatest fighting force in the world is tasked with integrating recruits suffering from this complex condition into its ranks — and gauging the importance of treating psychological conditions by paying for sex-change operations.

Related: Today’s New Non-Gender Kid

I’ll just say it: This is crazy.

Combat readiness should remain the number-one priority within the United States armed forces, not experimenting with treating psychological conditions and expecting an entire culture to shift on its axis to accommodate something that not even the Pentagon knows how to handle.

Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army veteran and an OpsLens contributor. She served 10 years in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies criminal justice and is still active within the military community. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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