DOD STARRS Authors Woke Agenda

Pentagon Quietly Expands Woke Transgender Policies in the Military

By Elaine Donnelly
President, Center for Military Readiness
STARRS Board of Advisors

In his State of the Union speech tonight, President Joe Biden will try to claim expertise and success in matters of national defense.  Not counting outstanding performance by our men and women in uniform, several national security fiascos suggest otherwise, including the Administration’s inept response to the Chinese government’s recent spy mission incursion into American air space.

Instead of conveying the clear message that America will not tolerate Chinese surveillance and various threats that could flow from it, the Department of Defense seems to be concentrating on misplaced priorities and woke social mandates.

A comprehensive CMR Policy Analysis released today reveals that the issue of transgenders in the military is being pushed to new extremes, under the radar, even as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and other military officials keep trying to denydissemble, or withhold information on the existence or results of woke policies:

In preparing this original policy analysis, CMR compared the 2016 Barack Obama/Ashton Carter transgender policy to the current, recently updated Joe Biden/Lloyd Austin  transgender policies, noting at least six significant changes that have been made incrementally since Biden took office in 2021.

In summary, the Biden policy:

1)  Changes official DoD vocabulary to reflect transgender ideology;

2)  Specifically involves the military service academies and ROTC (contract) programs;

3)  Holds commanders directly responsible for all alleged “biases against transgender individuals;”

4)  Allows cross-dressing and other “transitioning” behaviors on-base as well as off-base;

5)  Allows “de-transition” procedures if costly treatments do not resolve gender dysphoria; and

6)  Restricts collection and disclosure of data on “incidents of harmful behaviors” involving sexual orientation and transgender persons.

These mandates are prime examples of woke policies in the military, which impose progressive ideologies and take them to extremes with enforced compliance, even if it hurts the institution.

Challenge to Congress

A recent independent, high-tech survey on politicization of the military done by the Heritage Foundation found that among active-duty respondents, 80% said the “changing of policy to allow unrestricted service by transgender individuals” decreased their trust in the military.

Sixty-eight percent of active-duty responses reported seeing a “growing politicization” of the military, and 68% said that it would impact their decision to encourage their children to join the armed forces.

In view of recent problems with recruiting and retention, the 118th Congress should renew previous demands for information on military transgender policies.  Congress also should consider mandating that all Defense Department agencies and educational institutions return to recognizing scientific realities of biological sex, not “self-identified gender.”

Servicemen and women deserve reality-based health care programs, with protection of the rights of doctors and nurses whose medical ethics and religious convictions differ from transgender ideology.

Women also deserve separate-sex athletic teams and reasonable privacy in female-only living facilities.

Americans are awake and aware of woke-ism in the military, and they will hold the Administration accountable for social policies that undermine morale and readiness in an increasingly dangerous world.”

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The Center for Military Readiness, founded in 1993, is celebrating its 30th anniversary as an independent, non-partisan public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  Elaine Donnelly can be reached at, and more information is available at

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