White House says 200 troops to remain in Syria ‘a rough estimate’
Ex-Pentagon leaders back lawsuit against transgender ban
Former Defense Department leaders backed a legal effort on Thursday to block President Trump's move to oust transgender troops from the military.
A group of transgender troops and students asked a federal judge to halt the administration from moving forward its proposed ban on transgender people in the ranks.
The motion for a preliminary injunction, filed in a Washington, D.C., district court, is supported by former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, former Army Secretary Eric Fanning and former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, as first reported by BuzzFeed.
"President Trump's stated rationales for reversing the policy and banning military service by transgender people make no sense," Mabus said in a statement supporting the lawsuit, jointly filed by GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
"They have no basis in fact and are refuted by the comprehensive analysis of relevant data and information that was carefully, thoroughly, and deliberately conducted."
The White House last week sent to the Pentagon official guidance to stop accepting transgender people into the military and potentially to oust those already serving.
The ban has already drawn several lawsuits. GLAD and the National Center for Lesbian Rights had also jointly filed a federal suit Aug. 9 for five transgender troops contesting the ban.
Thursday's court filing adds two plaintiffs, Naval Academy shipman Regan Kibby and Reserve Officers' Training Corps student Dylan Kohere.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday announced it would also sue Trump over the ban, as did LGBT rights groups Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN.
The former military secretaries supporting the GLAD and National Center for Lesbian Rights lawsuit write that the ban would harm national security.
Ousting transgender troops would create "unexpected vacancies in operational units and [require] the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of replacement personnel," Fanning said.
James, menwhile, said the ban would "harm both the military and the broader public interest," as well as morale.
Defense Secretary James Mattis is currently working to put together a panel that will report to him recommendations on how to implement the new policy and what to do with transgender troops already in the service.
In the meantime, transgender troops will be allowed to serve.