Retired Gen. Jack Keane on Thursday said the Pentagon was surprised by President Trumpâ€™s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the United States military.
â€œThe military did not come forward and ask for the transgender ban to be lifted. That was imposed on the military by Secretary of Defense [Ash] Carter last June, literally six months before the end of the Obama administration,â€ Keane told FOX Businessâ€™ Stuart Varney.
Mr. Carter commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation that measured the impact of transgender personnel on readiness and health care costs in the U.S. military.
According to Keane, after Carter lifted the military ban on transgender people in June of 2016, several thousand soldiers opted to change their gender, receiving medical treatment as of October 1st of 20016.
Last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis delayed a plan to allow transgender recruits to join the military to review whether the policy of allowing transgender individuals to enlist will affect the â€œreadiness or lethalityâ€ of the armed forces.
â€œI think what the president should do is talk to Secretary Mattis, take no adverse action against those who are serving honorably and faithfully who are now transgender soldiers and let Secretary Mattis come back and tell him [Trump] how is this program working and should we go forward with it,â€ Keane said.
On Wednesday, Trump issued via Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
"The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military," Trump tweeted.
â€œPolicy by Twitter, it doesnâ€™t work very well particularly something as complex as the United States military,â€ Keane said.
The retired four star general said the U.S. military is not a social welfare organization and individual rights must be sacrificed for the purpose of readiness.
â€œWe exist for one reason only and that is to protect the American people and our national interest, and thankfully, we have people who volunteer as American patriots to that very thing and put their life on the line,â€ Keane said.