New studies show that transgender civilians enlist in the military at twice the rate of the non-transgender population, but that transgender veterans are 20 times more likely to commit suicide. These findings are discussed in today’s Mother Jones, excerpted below:
“Transgender soldiers and sailors largely fly under the radar, but they are hardly uncommon.In a recent surveyby the Harvard Kennedy School’s LGBTQ Policy Journal, 20 percent of transgender people contacted said they had served in the military—that’s twice the rate of the general population. A 2011 study estimates there are nearly 700,000 transgender individuals (about three people per thousand) living in the United States. Meanwhile, theAmerican Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is scheduled to release a report today, which drawsfrom Department of Veterans Affairs data, showing that the number of veterans accepting treatment for transgender health issues has doubled in the past decade. (While viewing the full report requires a subscription, an abstract should be available online as of today.)
“These two new peer-reviewed studies indicate that, beyond being discriminatory, the military’s current policy starves the armed services of some of their likeliest recruits, and puts transgender people who serve at greater risk of discrimination, homelessness, and assault than those who don’t. Continue reading “Transgender soldiers”
Might America’s current “volunteer” military service be neutralizing opposition to the nation’s war-making? An article in today’s Salon.com says that the U.S. may be lacking to will to protest its involvements abroad because of the resulting appearance of “support” for it’s antagonisms.
“Few probably recall the name Dwight Elliott Stone. But even if his name has faded from the national memory, the man remains historically significant. That’s because on June 30, 1973, the 24-year-old plumber’s apprentice became the last American forced into the armed services before the military draft expired.
“Though next month’s 40-year anniversary of the end of conscription will likely be as forgotten as Stone, it shouldn’t be. In operations across the globe, the all-volunteer military has been employed by policymakers to birth what Gen. George Casey recently called the “era of persistent conflict.” Four decades later, we therefore have an obligation to ask: How much of the public’s complicity in that epochal shift is a result of the end of the draft? Continue reading “Dissent, the draft, and today’s military”
And so ends the U.S. military’s dream of mega-blimps strapped with powerful surveillance gear. The Army confirms to Danger Room that it’s killed the last of those lighter-than-air ships, so says DangerRoom
“Say goodbye to the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, or LEMV. Built by Northrop Grumman, it’s a
dimpled blimp as long as a football field; seven stories high; and carries a price tag of over half a billion dollars. The plan was to use the blimp over Afghanistan, where its gondola could haul seventons of cargo — including advanced camera gear able to see dozens of square miles of terrain with crystal-clear resolution at a single blink. It would stay 20,000 feet above the warzone for weeks at a time, something beyond the capabilities of any spy plane, manned or piloted. Trials over Afghanistan were slated for early this year. Continue reading “The end of blimps”
Virtual wars are getting more and more commonplace. Kids play soldiers in “Call of Duty” and actual soldiers pilot lethal drones from remote trailers in the U.S.
Now the British are taking virtual warfare to a larger scale, with its army staging the largest virtual battle simulation yet, involving 220 soldiers. The BBC reports that
“The experiment was carried out at the Army’s Land Warfare Centre in Warminster, Wiltshire. The two-hour scenario saw soldiers on computers completing virtual missions in a fictional French town. The Army says the simulation will help it to find out which resources it needs to invest in, once it takes control of its own budget in April 2013.
“’The aim is to understand how various changes have an impact on the speed at which command can respond,’ Continue reading “British stage huge virtual war”
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that, given the opportunity, they would vote “for” allowing women to serve in combat roles.These results are from a Gallup survey conducted just after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the Pentagon is lifting the ban on women serving in direct combat. Gallup states that:”The findings, from a quick-reaction poll conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking on Jan. 24, also show that men and women are equally likely to favor allowing women to serve in combat roles.
“There are modest partisan differences. Democrats, including independents who lean Democratic, are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support allowing women to serve in combat — 83% vs. 70% — although clear majorities from both parties favor it. Those who are younger are more likely to favor the policy than are those who are older. Among those aged 18 to 49, 84% favor the policy, compared with 63% of those aged 50 and older — a difference of 21 percentage points. Continue reading “Strong public support for women in combat”
“Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is lifting the military’s official ban on women in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to them, senior defense officials said Wednesday,” reports the New York Times.
“The groundbreaking decision overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles, even though in reality women have frequently found themselves in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, where more than 20,000 have served. As of last year, more than 800 women had been wounded in the two wars and more than 130 had died.
“Defense officials offered few details about Mr. Panetta’s decision but described it as the beginning of a process to allow the branches of the military to put the change into effect. Defense officials said Mr. Panetta had made the decision on the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Continue reading “Women to serve in combat”
Apparently, stealth technology is reaching further into the aspirations of the U.S. Army. After working on ways to generate artificial fog and camouflaged tanks, the Army now wants “super-black” materials to render its stuff virtually invisible. As Danger Room reports,
“In its latest round of solicitations for small businesses, the Army is asking for proposals for super-black material. That is, material so black that it absorbs 99 percent of all light. But it isn’t really black paint, exactly. The plan is to use either an “antireflective coating or surface treatment process for metals” to absorb stray light “in the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared regions.” This, the Army hopes, will boost the quality of high-resolution cameras, while also cooling down sensitive electronics. Or to put it another way: The Army needs the color black to reflect its icy-cold heart. Continue reading “Invisible soldiers”
“I will not donate to the Salvation Army, but will instead give to other charities until the Salvation stops discriminating.”
The statement appears on vouchers circulating this week in opposition to the Salvation Army’s widely-known prejudices toward the LGBT community. As The Huffington Post reports,
“With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is once again coming under intense scrutiny from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocates. Continue reading “Bigotry is not a Christmas value”