Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his reappointment to the chairmanship after two years of service, Gen. Joseph Dunford revealed the advice he said he had privately provided to the administration.
"We see this with a lot of attention", said general Dunford, questioned by republican senator John McCain on the tensions with the regime in Pyongyang. Mazie Hirono, who asked whether he stood by his 2015 assessment that Russian Federation, followed by China and North Korea, posed the greatest threats to the U.S.in order of severity.
In a hearing before the Committee votes to reappoint Gen. Joseph Dunford in his current role as the top military advisor to the president, he addressed the rise of China, Russia's increasing use of electronic and cyber warfare, and worries over threats from North Korea.
On transgender soldiers - which are now in limbo as the Pentagon reviews the issue - Dunford said, "I do", when asked if he believed that trans soldiers have served with honor and valor by Democratic Sen.
"If reconfirmed, I look forward to working together with the committee to ensure the chairman testifying in 2025 has the same degree of confidence in our ability to provide for the common defense", Dunford said.
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military", he wrote. "What I just articulated is the advice I provided in private, and I've just provided in public".
Trump went after trans soldiers first with a tweet in late July, which was then followed up by a formal guidance sent to the Pentagon last month, saying the Pentagon should submit final plans to the White House on implementation of the transgender ban by February 21.
In July, Trump announced the ban on transgender troops via Twitter, justifying the order less-than-poorly by writing that the military, "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military wold entail".
"When asked by Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) whether he can promise that now serving transgender troops will not be separated based exclusively on their gender identity, Dunford said that's been his advice as the Pentagon reviews its transgender policy". The guidance left it up to the Defense Department to decide the fate of now serving transgender troops.
A Rand Corp. study commissioned a year ago by the Pentagon to help it determine its transgender policy estimated there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people among about 1.3 million active-duty troops. "Many have worked diligently within their chains of command to meet every requirement put forth by the former administration, and now they have been plunged into a career of uncertainty and their service and sacrifices have been unfairly tarnished".
Dunford told senators that Iran was complying with the deal.