Taxpayer-funded sex-change surgeries would cost the Pentagon $1.3 billion over 10 years.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that transgender individuals will not be eligible to serve in the military, with the White House citing cost and military readiness concerns.
Internal data provided to the Washington Free Beacon from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R., Mo.), a leading opponent of taxpayer-funded sex changes, show that even by using a conservative estimate, the costs associated with 0.7 percent of the military population is great.
Hartzler’s office provided a detailed calculation that shows estimates of the current number of transgender service members, and the number likely to seek a taxpayer-funded gender transition.
“The 10-year cost estimate is for surgery only and is adjusted for 3 percent inflation; it accounts for Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve members currently serving as well as new recruits over the same time period,” the document states. “It uses the FY 18 DoD number for total number of military members and multiplies it by the percentage of military personnel assumed to be transgender as reported by the UCLA Williams Institute and the National Center for Transgender Equality.”
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.
Hartzler’s office calculated the additional costs of surgeries for new transgender recruits every year.
There are 178,000 new military members per year, and assuming 0.7 percent are transgender, 1,246 new transgender service members each year. Assuming 30 percent get surgeries, there would be an additional 374 surgical transitions per year, or 3,740 over 10 years. Those surgeries would cost $493 million, and with 3 percent inflation a total of $579 million by 2027.
The costs of active duty transgender surgeries and those of new recruits over a 10-year period total $1.349 billion.
It is likely even more transgender service members would seek sex reassignment surgeries if they are taxpayer-funded.
More than 30 percent of transgender individuals say they want to have various sex reassignment surgeries in the future, according to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
Fifty-three percent of men who identify as women say they someday want a breast augmentation, and 61 percent say want an orchiectomy, the surgical removal of one or both testicles, in the future.
Sixty-four percent say they want a vaginoplasty, the construction of a vagina, someday.
Hartzler’s office said their cost estimate is more accurate than a study commissioned under the Obama administration by the RAND Corporation, which is federally funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The RAND study only provided cost estimates for one year, did not adjust for inflation, and only included active duty transgender troops, and not from the National Guard and Reserve.
The RAND study also used a much lower estimate of the number of transgender individuals in the military, between 1,320 and 6,630. The Navy estimates there are at least 13,000 transgender individuals serving in the military, and the Williams Institute reported over 15,000 in 2014.
The RAND study also estimates only 5 percent would seek surgery, a much lower figure than the 30 percent average reported in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Furthermore, the study does not use cost estimates of the actual surgeries, but only the cost increase in private insurance premiums for plans that cover transgender services.
Hartzler’s office also points out the RAND study was commissioned by former secretary of defense Ash Carter under “the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness.”
The $1.349 billion cost does not include additional medical costs of transgender service members, including hormone therapy, mental health services, or costs associated with surgical complications.
Hartzler, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of oversight and investigations, praised President Trump’s decision to reverse the Obama administration’s transgender policy.
“Our military is the most effective, efficient, and well-funded fighting force in the world, and as the president notes, we cannot burden our armed forces with the tremendous costs and disruptions that transgenders in the military would entail,” she said. “With the challenges we are facing across the globe, we are asking the American people to invest their hard-earned money in national defense.”
“Each dollar needs to be spent to address threats facing our nation,” Hartzler continued. “The costs incurred by funding transgender surgeries and the required additional care it demands should not be the focus of our military resources.”
In the past, Hartzler has pointed out that for $1.35 billion the Pentagon could purchase 13 F-35 fighters or 14 F-18 Super Hornets.