Harrington: White House Right About Tremendous Cost to Military of Providing Transgender Surgeries

Washington Free Beacon reporter Elizabeth Harrington appeared on Fox News Friday night to discuss her reporting on the estimated $1.3 billion it would cost to cover transgender surgeries in the U.S. military over the next 10 years.

Harrington said an Obama administration-commissioned RAND study that found transgender surgeries would cost the military a pittance was flawed and drastically underestimated how many transgender individuals would get surgeries. Harrington's reporting found it would be far more expensive and that roughly 30 percent of transgendered individuals would likely seek taxpayer-funded transitions:

The 2014 Williams Institute study found there were 15,500 transgender individuals actively serving, or 0.7 percent of the military population. By adjusting the figure for the enlistment numbers of 2,130,000, there are currently 14,910 transgender service members.

Thirty percent will likely seek surgeries, or 4,473 transgender troops. The average cost per surgery is $132,000, which is a combination of the average cost of male to female ($140,450) and female to male ($124,400) surgeries.

The cost to taxpayers for these surgeries would be $590 million, and $770 million with a 3 percent inflation rate by 2027.

President Donald Trump announced this week via Twitter that transgendered persons would no longer serve in the U.S. military, reversing a 2015 Obama administration policy openly allowing transgender troops to serve.

However, Joint Chief of Staffs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said the policy would not officially change until the Pentagon got official directions from the White House and issued new guidelines.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Harrington if there was any indication that providing transition surgeries to transgendered service members would improve military readiness.

"It's striking, because even the RAND corporation admits that every transgender soldier who goes through transition will be out an estimated 238 days," Harrington said. "So that is 238 days that they're not going to be deployed overseas, in active duty, and someone else will have to go in their place.

"So when the White House says this is about cost but it's also about readiness, they're absolutely right, because they're taking the place of someone else, and they get to have a taxpayer-funded surgery, and then they're not available to be deployed, because these surgeries are extensive, and it's 238 days. That's most of a full year."

"The military is not the place for political correctness," Harrington added.