Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced his decision in a fairly unorthodox way. Instead of a diatribe about fake news or Jeff Sessions’ latest deeds of omission, there was this:

The problem, of course, is that “consultation” means different things to different people, and it means less to Trump than it does to most of us.

Yesterday afternoon we found there had actually been discussions between Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis on reinstating the transgender ban but that no decision had been reached prior to the tweets. Presumably, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were looped into these discussions, directly or indirectly, because it would be very strange for a guy of Mattis’ background to not pass along Trump’s thinking. I would also speculate that if the subject was discussed with Mattis, it was also discussed with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General James Dunford because of his statutory role as the president’s primary military adviser. CNN reports that whatever transpired, Dunford and the JCS did not consider the discussions to be a warning to get prepared for a ban on transgenders:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, including chairman General Joseph Dunford, were not aware President Donald Trump planned to tweet a ban on transgender service members, three US defense officials told CNN — the latest indication that top military leaders across all four service branches were blindsided by the President’s announcement.


One of the heads of the military branches was informed by a staffer of the President’s tweets on transgender policy and had no idea it was coming, an official said.
Adding to the confusion is that Trump’s decision came without a plan in place to implement it.

And Dunford has ordered the services to do nothing until they get more guidance. The Hill reports it this way:

The highest-ranking military officer in the country said that the military’s transgender policy won’t actively change until President Trump sends specific directions to the Pentagon.

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote in a letter.

(The first paragraph is obviously contradicted by second. The letter is saying the services will wait on regulations issued by DoD before acting, it isn’t saying the White House is going to issue “specific directions.” It also implies that the policy right now is contained in three tweets.)

This is Dunford’s directive:

dunford-memo

Dunford did the only reasonable thing under the circumstances — he’s prevented any of the services from moving forward until a formal policy is issued to ensure a uniform approach to a public relations minefield.

 

Contrary to the insane claim that there are 15,000 gender-confused people in the military (that is nearly two infantry divisions or two carrier strike groups)

only 250 service members have identified themselves as transgender and RAND Corporation estimates the max is perhaps 2400 on active duty and 1500 in the reserve components. But the problems created by Ash Carter and his merry band of SJWs is considerable. What will be the character of the discharge? I’m guessing it will be honorable. Will these people be eligible for medical care via the VA? That isn’t an easy question. Their surgery and drug regimen is elective and not medically necessary. It certainly isn’t service connected. On the other hand, they might never have been surgically mutilated had Carter left the original policy in place.

Regardless of its merits, this is not how decisions are supposed to be made. It is sloppy and unprofessional and it leaves people who didn’t get a vote in what to do to clean up the mess.