United States President Donald Trump announced last month via Twitter that transgender people would no longer be permitted to join the armed forces—citing expensive medical costs and disruption.
However, research conducted by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey has found that if the ban was to go ahead, it will end up being an extremely costly exercise for the military.
The report—published by the Palm Center—estimates that the cost of discharging transgender troops would be about $960 million USD.
The professors who authored the report multiplied the number of trans service members (12,800) by the average cost of recruiting and training their replacements ($75,000).
The report points out that the military currently spends—at most—$8.4 million per year on transition related health care.
“The average annual cost of providing transition-related care for the entire population of transgender troops is $656 per transgender service member per year, because most transgender personnel do not require transition-related care during their military careers," the report says.
“For the military as a whole, fully implementing President Trump’s ban would cost $960 million in pursuit of saving $8.4 million per year."
The nearly $1 billion dollar price tag is 114 times more expensive than the annual cost of retaining transgender service members and providing them with health care.
President Trump recently announced at a press conference that he was doing the military a “great favour” by banning transgender troops.
“I have great respect for the community… I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community. I got a lot of votes.
“But the transgender, the military’s working on it now… It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favour by coming out and just saying it.”
“As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favour.”
Five transgender troops who are currently serving in the Air Force, Coast Guard and the Army are suing President Trump over the ban.
“This unjustifiable reversal of policy is devastating to these soldiers and harmful to our country," said Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project.
"These plaintiffs put their lives on the line every day for all of us. We can’t afford to lose a single one of them," she said.