All Publications

Aaron Belkin | June 28, 2016

In this study, Aaron Belkin asks why, given that it took nearly two decades to repeal DADT, the campaign to lift the military's transgender ban achieved many of its goals in just a few years.

| April 6, 2016
Gale S. Pollock, Alan M. Steinman, and Clara Adams-Ender | March 18, 2015

In this letter, the authors argue that there is no medically valid reason for prohibiting transgender applicants from enlisting in the military, for presuming that they are less fit for duty or assignment than other applicants, or for presuming them unfit unless they receive a waiver. And, more generally, there is no need to presume all members of a group are unfit when the regulations already contain generally applicable standards to assess medical risk.

Aaron Belkin & Diane Mazur | January 22, 2015

Beginning with President Harry Truman's 1948 executive order2 declaring "the policy of the President" to be "equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin," commanders-in-chief have taken direct, personal action to ensure equality of treatment for service members. Presidential leadership has been a critical factor in preserving, in Truman's words, the "highest standards of democracy" in the military, "with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense."

Diane H. Mazur | Palm Center | November 26, 2014

Retired General and Flag Officers, including Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, Major General Vance Coleman, and Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, endorsed a Palm Center report showing that the Army, Air Force, and Navy/Marines have failed to comply with new DOD rules on transgender personnel. On August 5, 2014, DOD issued a regulation eliminating some restrictions on the retention of transgender personnel. The new DOD regulation only allows Services to designate conditions as administratively disqualifying if those conditions "interfere with assignment to or performance of duty." The DOD regulatory change obligates the individual Services to update their own rules accordingly, yet none of them have done so. Instead, they all retain automatic disqualifications for transgender individuals, rendering Service regulations out of compliance with DOD rules. Click here to read more. Click here for the full report.

Diane H. Mazur | Palm Center | October 1, 2014

An October 2014 report underscored the discriminatory nature of policies concerning transgender personnel. Palm Center Legal Co-Director and retired law professor Diane Mazur identified six inconsistencies distinguishing how military medical policies govern transgender and non-transgender members. Mazur found that: "two different standards can apply to comparable medical care, or even the same medical care, depending on whether the service member is transgender or not." While most military health regulations assess medical risk based on individual evaluation and ability to perform duty, the rules for gender identity wrongly "presume all transgender personnel are unfit and render their duty performance irrelevant." Mazur concludes that unlike medical policies for non-transgender personnel, "military rules governing gender identity are decades out of date." Click here for the full report.

Gale S. Pollock, Major General USA (Ret.), former acting US Army Surgeon General, Co-Chair Shannon Minter, JD, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Co-Chair | August 26, 2014

Three retired US military General Officers, including the former chief medical officer of the US Army, issued a joint statement today concluding that the military's ban on transgender service could be eliminated in a straightforward manner that is consistent with military readiness and core values. Click here to read more. Click here for the full report.

Alan Okros and Denise Scott | Armed Forces & Society | June 2, 2014

One of the most prominent debates over minority participation in the military has been whether or not inclusive policies would undermine operational effectiveness. While the adoption of inclusive policy has tended to indicate that minority participation does not compromise effectiveness, the question has not yet been tested in the context of transgender military service. In this paper, we conduct the first-ever assessment of whether policies that allow transgender troops to serve openly have undermined effectiveness, and we ask this question in the context of the Canadian Forces (CF), which lifted its transgender ban in 1992 and then adopted more explicitly inclusive policy in 2010 and 2012. Although transgender military service in Canada poses a particularly hard test for the proposition that minority inclusion does not undermine organizational performance, our finding is that despite ongoing prejudice and incomplete policy formulation and implementation, allowing transgender personnel to serve openly has not harmed the CF's effectiveness. Click here for the article.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, MD, former US Surgeon General, Co-Chair RADM Alan M. Steinman, MD, USPHS/USCG (Ret.), Co-Chair | March 13, 2014

A commission co-chaired by a former US Surgeon General released a report today concluding that the Pentagon's ban on transgender military service is not based on sound medical reasoning, according to the Associated Press. In one of the first and most detailed assessments of the basis and impact of the current policy, the Transgender Military Service Commission examined all medical and psychological aspects of transgender military service, and found inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the Pentagon's rationale for the exclusionary policy, which remains in affect despite the scrapping of "don't ask, don't tell." Click here to read more. Click here for the full report.

Belkin, et al. | September 10, 2012

The first academic study of the effects of repealing “don't ask, don’t tell” has found that the new policy of open service has had no overall negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment, retention or morale. Co-authors of the study, whose publication coincides with the anniversary of DADT repeal, include professors at the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and U.S. Marine Corps War College.

Dr. Aaron Belkin | Huffington Post Media Group | September 10, 2011

Huffington Post Media Group has announced that its second ebook release, due Sept. 20, will be Aaron Belkin's book on the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell": How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' How We Won argues that lessons from the repeal campaign challenge some of the left's most entrenched conventional wisdom about how to successfully set social policy.

Aaron Belkin and Margot Canaday | January 12, 2011

This article draws together military and government documents, secondary research, press coverage and interviews with individuals with knowledge on this topic to assess the effects of open service in the South African National Defence Force. The evidence suggests that the integration of gay and lesbian personnel has not had a negative impact on recruitment and retention, morale, unit cohesion or operational effectiveness in the SANDF.

Aaron Freed | December 22, 2010

Using case studies of other Pentagon training efforts, this study shows that: the Pentagon can quickly train all personnel regardless of status or location (including combat zones); training is not prerequisite to a policy going into force; the repeal of DADT does not necessitate formal and elaborate training programs.

Bonnie Moradi | Palm Center | November 29, 2010

The 2010 Department of Defense Comprehensive Review Survey of Uniformed Duty and Reserve Service Members yielded a response rate of 28%. This report examines how this response rate compares with others and what the implications are for interpreting the data.

Diane H. Mazur | Oxford University Press | October 29, 2010

Why are politicians so reluctant to question the military? Why do the President, Congress and Courts so often defer to the military's preferences in a system in which civilians are supposed to be in control? Why do people question whether federal courts have the right to change military policies, or whether the Constitution even applies to the military? Professor Diane Mazur's new book "A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger" explains why our civil-military relationships have become strained and dysfunctional in the all-volunteer era. It's because civilians-primarily the Courts, but also Congress and the President-have broken the bond the military once had with the Constitution. Professor Mazur is Legal Co-Director of the Palm Center.