Department of Defense (DoD)

Carter Presents Albright With Distinguished Public Service Award

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Carter Presents Albright With Distinguished Public Service Award
06/30/2016 05:47 PM CDT

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Defense Secretary Ash Carter applauds former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for her public service achievements before he presents her with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service at the Pentagon June 30, 2016. DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

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Carter Presents Albright With Distinguished Public Service Award

By Jim Garamone

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2016 — Trailblazing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright received the Defense Department’s highest award for public service today from Defense Secretary Ash Carter during a Pentagon ceremony.

Carter presented Albright with the department’s Distinguished Public Service Award.

Albright was the first woman secretary of state and served from 1997 to 2001. She was one of the first to recognize the importance of a whole-of-government approach to meeting challenges and championed this principle in Bosnia, Kosovo and the Middle East.

Strategic Perspective

“It might seem odd to some of you that a secretary of defense would give the Department of Defense’s highest award to a secretary of state, but it shouldn’t seem strange to you,” Carter said during the ceremony. “That’s because this award represents an enduring truth: our defense is so vital that we must shepherd it from strategic era to strategic era, from administration to administration, across parties and across our government. Defense requires a strategic perspective – that we understand our connections to the leaders and challenges of the past.”

Albright served in President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration before President Bill Clinton nominated her to be secretary of state.

Carter said that in all her jobs, Albright stressed the need to use American power wisely to protect the country and make a better world.

“She’s always demonstrated a deep understanding of which mix of our nation’s foreign policy tools – whether it’s the nation’s exceptional diplomatic corps, our economic might or the finest fighting force the world has ever known – is best for a given issue,” he said.

Complex World

It is a complex world that has grown more chaotic, Carter said, citing Russia’s aggression, a growing and changing China, North Korea, Iran and the problem of extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the major issues of our time.

“While we do not have the luxury of choosing among these challenges, we do have the ability to set a strategic course for the future — a future that’s uncertain, and that will bring with it new and unforeseen challenges, but that will surely demand America’s leadership, values and military strength,” he said.

These are issues that demand the whole-of-government approach that Albright has championed throughout her career, he said.

“As we set that strategic course, meet those challenges and contend with that uncertain future,” he said, “we can learn important lessons from Madeleine’s remarkable career about the need for whole-of-government policy responses, about the strategic benefits of global partners, and about the enduring importance of American values and ideals.”

Victory in War Requires More than Combat Power

Ensuring victory in war requires more than just combat power, Carter said – it also requires just governance, meaningful reconciliation, improved education, economic progress and the rule of law. “At State and in her continued work as chair of the National Democratic Institute, Madeleine has helped develop and advance the instruments and institutions needed to make and keep peace,” he added.

Albright demonstrated the effectiveness of this policy in the 1990s when she worked for whole-of-government responses to end crises in Bosnia and Kosovo, to counter nuclear proliferation, to normalize trade with China and to normalize diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

“Madeleine’s work on Bosnia and later in Kosovo also reminds us of the importance of working with – and listening to – our unrivaled network of allies and partners,” Carter said. “That long-time network is an important strategic asset, one nurtured by generations of policymakers like Madeleine.”

Albright thanked the secretary for the award and praised his stewardship of the department. The former secretary sits on the Defense Policy Board, and she explained why the award means so much to her.

“I was not born in the United States,” she said. Albright was born in Czechoslovakia, and her family had to flee the Nazis at the start of World War II, taking refuge in England. Following the war, her family again had to flee from their home country, this time when the Soviets put a communist government in place in Prague in 1948.

Her first memory of Americans was of the GIs who traveled to England to liberate a continent in 1944, she said. She recalled “their boundless energy, their confident wisecracks and jaunty way of walking.”

Admiration, Respect for Service Members

She said she never lost that admiration and respect for American service members, and this influenced her decisions at senior levels.

“You can’t imagine how humbled I felt when, as secretary, I participated in meetings that resulted in brave men and women being sent into harm’s way,” she said. “It never occurred to me that one of the things I would do when I raised my hand was to send people to war. I vowed never to forget the human lives at stake in these decisions.”

While serving as secretary of state, Albright took every opportunity to visit with troops around the world. “At each stop I would read their names and study their faces,” she said. “These were men and women from across the land representing every variety of background, race, color and creed. I was impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment.”

Albright said the country should mirror service members’ enthusiasm and commitment. “It seems to me that if we are to protect the security and prosperity of our country, we should put an end to partisan squabbling, do a little arithmetic and develop a unified and lasting approach to the federal budget,” she said. “In the process, we should invest first in the education of our young people so they will be able to meet the demands that modern military service and the marketplace require.”

She praised Carter for his Force of the Future initiative, which seeks to do just that, and for his decision, announced earlier in the day, to allow transgender service members to serve openly. “Using the talents of our entire population will be key to building lasting security in the 21st century,” she said.

The United States must not turn its back on the rest of the world, Albright said. “American leadership is still needed in the world today,” she added. “Past lessons inform us that we cannot allow our country to become tired, we cannot turn our backs on responsibilities and we cannot pretend we are not the United States.”

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Transgender Service Members Can Now Serve Openly, Carter Announces

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Transgender Service Members Can Now Serve Openly, Carter Announces
06/30/2016 05:24 PM CDT

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Defense Secretary Ash Carter announces a new transgender policy for the Defense Department during a Pentagon news conference, June 30, 2016. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee

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Transgender Service Members Can Now Serve Openly, Carter Announces

By Terri Moon Cronk

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2016 — Transgender service members in the U.S. military can now openly serve their country without fear of retribution, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced today, a policy decision that overturns the ban on transgender service across all branches of service, effective immediately.

Following a study at his direction, the secretary said during a Pentagon news conference, three main reasons led to the decision to lift the transgender ban: the force of the future, the existing force and matters of principle.

Ban Lifted Immediately

“As a result of the yearlong study, I’m announcing today that we are ending the ban on transgender Americans in the United States military. Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender,” Carter said.

Further, he said, he has directed that the gender identity of an otherwise qualified individual will not bar him or her from military service or from any accession program.

Force of the Future Needs Best Talent

“[We in] the Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible … to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter said.

“Our mission is to defend this country,” he added, “and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.”

The Defense Department must have access to 100 percent of America’s population for its all-volunteer force to be able to recruit from among the most highly qualified, and to retain them, the secretary told reporters.

Because an estimated 7,000 active and reserve transgender service members on the upper end now wear a military uniform, “I have a responsibility to them and their commanders to provide them both with clearer and more consistent guidance than is provided by current policies,” Carter emphasized.

Minimal Readiness Impact

Based on the working group’s analysis of 18 allied militaries including those of the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel and the expected rate at which American transgender service members would require medical treatment that would affect their fitness for duty and deployability, a Rand Corp. analysis concluded that there would be minimal readiness impacts from allowing transgender service members to serve openly, the secretary said.

And while transgender numbers are small, they serve the country with honor and distinction, Carter said, noting that DoD invests hundreds of thousands of dollars to train and develop each individual. “And we want to take the opportunity to retain people whose talents we’ve invested in and who have proven themselves,” he added.

Medical Expenses

Until today’s change in policy, transgender service members had to seek out-of-pocket medical care from private doctors who deemed whether certain procedures were necessary.

“This is inconsistent with our promise to all our troops that we will take care of them and pay for necessary medical treatment,” the secretary said, adding that Rand found health care costs would represent “an exceedingly small proportion” of DoD’s overall health care expenditures.

Civilian federal employees have access to a health insurance plan that provides comprehensive coverage for transgender-related care and medical treatment, he noted.

Matters of Principle

The secretary said he and senior DoD leaders met in the past year with transgender service members who have deployed all over the world, serving on aircraft, submarines, forward operating bases and in the Pentagon.

The yearlong study was carefully examined for medical, legal and policy considerations that have been rapidly evolving in recent years and in light of DoD’s unique nature of military readiness “to make sure the department got it right,” Carter said.

After talking with doctors, employers and insurance companies, he said, it became clear that “transgender” is becoming common and normalized in public and private sectors, and he noted a “sea change” in the past decade.

Future Policy Phases

The new policies related to lifting the transgender ban will take place over the next 12 months, beginning with immediate guidance for service members and commanders, the secretary said. Next will follow training the entire force, and DoD will then start accessing new military service members who are transgender.

In no more than 90 days, DoD will issue a commanders’ guidebook for leading existing transgender service members, and guidance will be issued to military doctors to provide transition-related care if required for existing transgender troops, the secretary said.

By ending the ban on transgender service members, “we’re eliminating policies that can result in transgender service members being treated differently from their peers based solely upon their gender identity, rather than their ability to serve,” Carter said. “And we’re confirming that going forward we will apply the same general principles, standards, and procedures to transgender service members as we do to all service members.”

Deliberate and thoughtful implementation will be key, he added, and DoD’s senior leaders will ensure all issues identified in the study are addressed in implementation.

“I’m 100 percent confident in the ability of our military leaders and all men and women in uniform to implement changes in a manner that both protects the readiness of the force and also upholds values cherished by the military — honor, trust and judging every individual on their merits,” Carter said.

Good people are integral to the best military in the world, the secretary said, adding that he’s “we have reason to be proud today of what this will mean for our military — because it is the right thing to do, and it’s another step in ensuring that we continue to recruit and retain the most qualified people.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)

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Bookmark and Share

Defense Department News Through Facebook on the DoD News Facebook page, you can post comments and share news, photos and videos on the DoD News Facebook page. Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/DoD-News/808154485884259 or search for DoD News at Facebook.com.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time by clicking on your ‘User Profile’ page at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOD/subscriber/edit?preferences=true#tab1. You will need to use your email address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com.

Have another inquiry? Visit the online FAQ at http://www.defense.gov/landing/questions.aspx for up-to-date information.

Get the help you, your family, and fellow service members need, when you need it. Visit www.WarriorCare.mil to learn more.

Check out the National Resource Directory at www.nationalresourcedirectory.org, a new web-based resource for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families, families of the fallen and those who support them from the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs.

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at http://www.defense.gov/.

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Department of Defense (DoD)

U.S. Department of Defense Defense News Lead Photo Update

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Loader Operator
06/27/2016 07:00 PM CDT

Air Force Senior Airman Logan Mahaney operates a loader to collect debris during flood cleanup in Elkview, W.Va., June 28, 2016. Mahaney is assigned to the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. De-Juan Haley

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