Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff General Joseph Dunford identified China as America’s most likely threat by 2025.

He also reaffirmed his support for the military’s transgender service members, saying he has supported their ability to serve, saying “I believe that any individual who meets the physical and mental standards … should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,”

Dunford, who was speaking before the committee to be reappointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said he has consistently held that position, in both public and private, and has expressed that opinion to civilian lawmakers.

President Trump announced in July via Twitter that he intended to ban transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity”, and made his decision only after “consultation with my generals and military experts.” Dunford has served as Trump’s most senior General Officer since he was inaugurated in January, but has never indicated if he was consulted by the President on the issue.

Currently, trans service members who are still in the military are in a sort of limbo, as an ongoing review of transgender policy directed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis continues. Dunford joins a growing list of current and retired military officers who have voiced their support for the policy which would allow trans Americans the ability to serve in the military, including Senator John McCain who chairs the Armed Services Committee.

Dunford’s reappointment as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs for another two years was virtually assured. He was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama in 2015, and was nominated again by President Trump earlier this year. The term is for two years, but that will increase to four years starting in 2019.

 

Image courtesy of the U.S. Senate

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