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tv   Wolf  CNN  June 30, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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hi, i am brianna keilar in for wolf blitzer. thanks for joining us. three terrorists sent to the airport in istanbul, that's what turkish authorities say about the deadly attack that took at least 43 lives. 94 people are still in the hospital and those are just some of the new details coming out about the airport attack. we are also learning that officials believe the attackers are foreign nationals from these three countries. russia, uzbekistan, kyrgyzstan.
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he says the bomber was well known by turkey. we are seeing video of the moment of the attack, some images are disturbing. some of them, we see a gunman running through the airport. you can see him with his weapon, people scattering off to the side. this is inside the arrivals area of the international terminal. we also have video of an attacker without his gun drawn. according to turkish broadcaster, he is confronted by an undercover officer that asks for identification. the attacker opens fire. i want to bring in alexandra field, we also have matthew chance in moscow. alexandra, we've seen more than a dozen anti-terror raids in turkey after the attack. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: right, no doubt we will continue to see those kinds of raids happening. since the attacks were unleash at the airport behind me, that
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officials have been conducting counter terrorism raids. they picked up some 13 people in istanbul, another 9 in a coastal city. not clear why they picked up the people they picked up, but certainly those people will be questioned now. we're told the raids were very much in connection to the attacks here. as you mention, brianna, authorities have identified the nationalities of three attackers, and we're learning more about their background. sources telling cnn these three men spent time in raqqah, and they arrived in istanbul a month ago. they were sharing an apartment here, renting an apartment. that's when they found a passport belonging to one of the men. it led them to information about the men. you can bet that it means they're now talking to anyone who was in the vicinity of the apartment, people that may have seen them coming and going, people that could have information about any of their
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associat associates. the focus is to conduct counter terrorism raids, anyone with information about the attacks unleash two days ago. >> matthew, with the attackers coming from russia, uzbekistan, what can you tell us about the link to terror in those areas? >> reporter: a big link, particularly to isis and islamic militancy in general. from russia alone, according to figures, two and a half,000 have left. it is a really big problem that the authorities in russia and in other countries are trying hard to tackle. it's also something you can't get a handle on, there are muslim majority areas in southern russia, and countries
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are muslim majority. a lot of people there that see the attraction of isis, and the flow of militants to join those rebel groups like isis in syria has been unstoppable. it is a problem that's big for the russians and turks as well. >> matthew chance, alexandra field, thanks to both of you. for more on the terror attack in turkey, let's bring in state department spokesman, john kirby. the istanbul airport attackers were sent from syria and that isis leadership was involved in the planning, do you feel confident saying that isis planned the attack? >> we don't know for sure here in the united states exactly how the investigation is unfolding. we want to respect that process. we have seen comments by turkish officials, respect their work as they continue to investigate. as we did say yesterday, an
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attack like this has the hallmarks of isil involvement. we are not able to say it with certainty, but it has those hallmarks, this would be in keeping, if true, in keeping with motives of a group trying to metastasize, trying to influence through very spectacular attacks a sense of fear and anxiety outside iraq and syria where they're clearing on the defensive. >> jeh johnson, secretary of homeland security said in testimony that there was one american slightly injured in the attack. what can you tell us about that? >> we were not aware of u.s. deaths, we are also no indication there are americans that were seriously wounded. we are aware americans were near the scene. we are working with authorities to get more information about this. i would tell you, though, if you don't mind me using this platform to say, if there are
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american citizens watching or hearing mere, if they're in need of assistance of any kind, please reach out to our embassy officials in turkey and consulate officials so we can help. >> we do not mind you saying that at all. very important information to get out there. we are learning not just about the victims but the attackers, what we know according to reports is one was russian, one from uzbekistan, one from kerg stan. what does this tell you, what's the significance of nationality of the attackers? >> again, difficult to know with great certainty. we haven't seen a claim of responsibility. we understand there's haul marks of an isil attack. i don't want to get ahead of the investigation. but if it is true that isil was responsible and if it is true those are the nationalities, i think it speaks to the fact this is a group that continues to be able to attract foreign fighters from around the world. this ideology still seems to
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fester, have an ability to influence young men to this effort. that's not in itself a surprise. we knew as this group got under more pressure, they would try to seek attention, try to gain recruits through these spectacular attacks. we want to let the investigation go, don't want to get ahead of that. again, this is the kind of thing, if related, is the kind of thing not a great surprise to get foreign fighters from other places outside the region. >> an attack like this highlights status of u.s. led coalition progress against isis in iraq and syria. we are hearing different things. we heard from the cia director, his testimony on the hill that despite diminishing territory of isis that it has not diminished terrorism capability of the group or global reach. then we heard the secretary of
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state saying isis is acting out of desperation. which is it? they seem like two different assessments of where the group is. >> sure. i understand the question, where it is coming from. actually, both are true. this is a group very much on the defensive in iraq and syria. they lost half their territory in iraq. 20% of it in syria. their resources are drying up, having trouble recruiting, keeping leadership. killing one leader every three days or so. this is a group under pressure. we knew months ago, we knew as they became more increasingly under pressure in iraq and syria, they would try to branch out through these spectacular terror attacks. they would revert to more terror tactics like we've seen recently. it isn't a huge surprise. and as they adapt, so, too, have we, brianna. we increased information and intelligence sharing with partners around the world, interpol is more involved.
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many countries have adopted all kinds of administrative and legal efforts to get at the foreign fighter threat. again, we're not always perfect, they don't have to be right once, we have to be right 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. we still are mindful that this is a group capable of dangerous attac attacks. but we tried to adapt to their adapting, to the pressure they're under in iraq and syria. >> john, i want to ask you about a proposal for partnership we learned about between the u.s. and russia when it comes to fighting isis in syria. the agreement being that the u.s. would sort of lean on russia to get assad to not aim at certain areas where there are syrian rebels in exchange for u.s. led coalition going afteral news ra, a thorn in assad's side. what can you tell us about this? >> here is what i'll say. we have been nothing but clear
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saying we want cessation of -- >> is this partnership happening? >> we have been nothing but clear, we want cessation of hostilities in syria and nothing but clear with concerns about russia and the degree that they helped the regime in some ways continue to violate that cessation, we asked, urged, stressed with them the need for them to use their influence, the influence we know they have over assad to stop violations of the cessation of hostilities, stop killing inspect civilians and opposition groups. the cessation of hostilities remains fragile. we will stay at this. the conversations with the russians are continuing. i am not going into more detail on that. >> the russians haven't lived up to their end of the bargain preserving the cease-fire. why do you think it would be different? >> again, we are continuing to look at ways to get cessation of
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hostilities in place across the nation and have it be enduring. that has been a rieal challenge. we have been forth right with using the influence they have over assad. for some reason they haven't used that influence to the full extent or assad is becoming somewhat immune to that influence. again, we don't have automakll details. we want to see the violence stop so humanitarian access can be had to all the millions of syrians in need and so frankly we can get political discussion back on track which haven't gone anywhere in the last month or so. >> john kirby, state department spokesperson, thanks so much. >> my pleasure, thank you. the u.s. led coalition puts the squeeze on isis, possibly hundreds of terrorists wiped out by air strikes targeting a massive convoy on the move
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through iraq. also looking at live pictures from the pentagon where defense secretary ash carter is expected to make a big announcement around 1:30 p.m. expected to announce changes to the military transgender policy. we will have that live when it happens. you both have a perfect driving record. >>perfect. no tickets. no accidents... >>that is until one of you clips a food truck, ruining your perfect record. >>yup... now, you would think your insurance company would cut you some slack, right? >>no. your insurance rates go through the roof. your perfect record doesn't get you anything. >>anything. perfect! for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident.
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as we continue to watch for new developments in the terror attack in istanbul. we have a major development in the war on terror, for iraqi fighters near fallujah. air strikes targeting two convoys in the past two and a half days hit about 175 vehicles being used by isis. in addition, iraqi officials say dozens of militants were killed in the strikes you're seeing pictures of now. one official suggests 250 isis fighters could have been in the vehicles. military officials say when strikes from iraqi and coalition aircraft hit the convoy, fighters abandoned vehicles and fled on foot. the operation required american aircraft because there were a lot of civilians in this area, and in fact members of a humanitarian group said a couple
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of members of the team were nearly hit by an air strike while near a military check point. these air strikes come days after the iraqi military had a big victory. the chief of intelligence tells cnn that coordinating air strikes against isis get a failing grade. >> i would give us a five. which means we have a lot of work to do. the problem isn't having enough fighter jets to drop bombs, the problem is enough legitimate targets to strike that can put isil on their heels. >> let's discuss this counter isis strategy. to do that, i am joined by ambassador james jeffrey, former u.s. ambassador to iraq and turkey. and the dean at the school of advanced international studies at johns hopkins university,
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also author of "the dispensable nation." and former military attache in syria. i want reaction to what you heard him say there, do you agree? >> absolutely. this has been the problem all along is the target validation process. we have to develop enough targets for the confederate to hit. early on, many aircraft returned to base with order nates unexpended, couldn't get clearance to drop or didn't have enough targets to strike. a lot has to do with restrictive rules of engagement. that appears to be lessening somewhat. over time, increased intelligence that we're gathering has allowed them to develop more targets. i think five might be low, but i wouldn't go above a 7. >> what do you think about this?
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what do you read on what the general said? >> the military knows better how well they're doing in an air campaign, but the reality is there's very little american troop presence on the ground. the process by which it would gather information, be able to know what to hit. that requires a lot more american presence on the ground and much more robust iraqi military presence to be able to gather the information. i think there's been too much emphasis winning the war from the air, and as a result a lot of pressure put on accuracy of air campaign. we have to be realistic. that's only going so far. end of the day, this battle like in fallujah has to be won on the ground. >> you say in an article, ambassador, you say the mission should be crushing isis as a state and as a military and economic power. that's a different challenge, far more responsive to conventional military power. how is that done? >> it is done by using elite
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ground forces. there aren't enough locals, i and others advocate a limited number in the tens of thousands of american combat troops to lead larger coalition of forces from the region. the president opted against that. i can understand. he opted for an air adviser, special forces operation. but the problem is other two correspondents noted, even this has been carried out in a low risk, cautious way. we need to get more advisory teams out in the front, forward air controllers calling in strikes and make the air force that we have present as the general said much more useful. >> turkish officials now saying they have good evidence the attackers came from raqqah, syria and that isis leadership was involved directly in planning this. what does that signify to you? >> signifies open level between
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raqqah, isis leadership in turkey. turkey has been somewhat ambivalent warrior against isis. they have other fish to fry, including the kurdish rebels and syrian government, but at this point because they're supporting our efforts against isis and those efforts are having success, isis decided to go against turkey. it will pull turkey into the war against isis more, that's a good thing. >> we hear this criticism that the strategy of being just an air campaign is too limited. when you talk about as many as 250 fighters killed in very dramatic attack by u.s. and iraqi fighters jets on the convoy from fallujah, how significant is that number? >> very significant. we have to realize we're dealing with sort of two dimensions of isis.
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you have isis, conquering military government on the ground, broken up in syria and iraq with iraqi military and air campaign, then isis, the terrorist organization that's not necessarily dependent on control of territory on the ground in iraq and syria. i think as isis begins to unravel in iraq and syria, the organization will shift focus more into terrorism. it is much more easy to penetrate the border in places like turkey and carry out attacks like we are seeing. we can see a scenario where we have successful operations against raqqah, mosul, fallujah, kill large numbers of isis troops on the ground, yet see a strengthening of isis as terrorism arm which relies on lone wolves and singular fighters.
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essentially operate differently than militia on the ground. >> real quick to you, colonel francona, how significant. is it substantive, psychological of a victory that convoy attack? >> i think it is both. in the past when we have seen the iraqis take them, they were able to he is tape, get their vehicles and persons out and move north. we know where the real fighting will be, the retaking of moss you will. they were delta significant blow. i think this might hurt recruitment. one thing when isis was on a role, taking territory, they had recruits flowing in at a high rate. now that they're being killed effectively from the air, i take the ambassador's point, that's why these operations have taken so long.
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mosul is a long drawn out affair unless we have increased numbers on the ground. >> thank you. appreciate all of you being here. and the taliban claims responsibility for a deadly attack in afghanistan. it happened 12 miles west of kabul. two suicide bombers attack a convoy of buses carrying more than 200 police cadets. killed at least 34 people. 30 of those officers, the others civilians. the afghanistan president condemning the attack, calling this, quote, a crime against humanity. coming up, the attack in istanbul, putting u.s. officials on high alert ahead of fourth of july weekend. this is a live picture from reagan national airport in washington, d.c., just outside of washington, d.c. just ahead, a live report on the new security measures to expect in the nation's airports. we are standing by for a big announcement from the pentagon. defense secretary ash carter
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expected to announce changes to the military transgender policy. we will bring you that live.
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live pictures from the pentagon. defense secretary ash carter is about to have a big announcement. we will bring you that live. the istanbul attack raised concern about the safety of airports as americans embark on a long holiday weekend. appearing at an oversite hearing, jeh johnson tried to reassure travelers, talked about what to expect this weekend at airports across the nation.
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>> since brussels we have enhanced security at airports around the nation. since the brussels attack in march, our tsa viper teams have been more visible at airports and transit centers generally. the american public should expect to see this july 4th weekend enhanced security presence at airports, train stations, other transit centers across the country. >> and. >> let's go to renee marsh, her home away from home, reagan national airport outside washington, d.c. jeh johnson saying expect to see enhanced security presence. what does that entail? >> reporter: right. he laid it out today that the tsa viper team, a specialized team assigned to do random searches on passengers, they do
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those to prevent a terrorist attack. he said people would notice increased presence of state and local law enforcement. the situation is this. this is the first line of defense at airports across the country. at this day and age, the concern is the soft target. that's essentially all of this area. any part of the airport before you get to the security checkpoint. that's a concern. that's what we are hearing. several airports throughout the country saying they're increasing police presence so that they can better monitor the area. if you talk to anyone, whether it be law enforcement or anyone else, they'll tell you almost impossible to totally eliminate that vulnerability, so they understand there is that vulnerability here within the soft target, but they feel that this added presence does add
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another layer of security. >> rene marsh at reagan airport, thanks for that. coming up, you're looking at live pictures from the pentagon. this is what we are monitoring. in a few minutes, defense secretary ash carter is expected to announce changes to the military transgender policy. as soon as that starts, we will bring it to you live. hi, i'm dominique wilkins. when you have type 2 diabetes, like me, there's a moment of truth. and with victoza®, a better moment of proof. victoza® lowers my a1c and blood sugar better than the leading branded pill, which didn't get me to my goal. victoza® works with your body to lower blood sugar in three ways-- in the stomach, the liver and the pancreas. and while it isn't for weight loss,
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deals like the trans-pacific partnership and nafta shortly. the presumptive republican nominee is on the attack, calling out chamber of commerce, the president and his own party over what he sees as poorly negotiated deals. chief business correspondent christine romans joins us to talk about this. christine, what is trump's issue with deals like nafta? what would happen if it went away? >> he's saying these deals, trade deals, are made by stupid people in the american government selling away american manufacturing workers and it's killing jobs. what's so interesting to me is that you're seeing a trade war if you will now between the chamber of commerce, usually back to republican candidate. "the wall street journal and president obama are on the same side against the donald trump trade agenda that they say would hurt american companies, hurt american familictory workers.
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here is what "the wall street journal" said in a remarkable editorial. most of what his campaign billed as his signature economic message was the most detailed assault on trade by a presidential candidate since, well, we can't remember. mr. trump wants to make republicans into the tariff party. and they say what trump has proposed by saying he would walk away from nafta, renegotiate some trade agreements, not too the trans-pacific partnership, would be pad to america's ability to navigate globalization. globalization they point out is not something a switch you can turn on and off and reverse. globalization is like time, it is moving forward. trade deals are how you manage american prospects through that process. it is technology more than free trade deals that were a problem for the number of american manufacturing jobs in this country and the kind of american factory jobs in this country,
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brianna. >> you're seeing how contentious this has been, this issue on both sides of the primary battle. we are now into the general election. this has been going on for months. why is it sparking so much anger? is this a proxy for something else? >> it is a proxy for a slice of the american electorate that feel they can't get ahead. everyone knew that globalization was going to have rough edges that would hurt certain groups of workers and that has happened. now those workers are angry, they feel as though they can't find a place in the new economy where, for example, 73% of jobs, brianna, created since the recession have gone to people with a college degree. think about that. there are people that just aren't finding a place in the economy. also people with a college degree, have debt to get that degree, and maybe feel they're not getting a raise, haven't had a raise in a generation. there's a real middle class anxiety that donald trump tapped into, and bernie sanders tapped into. what's interesting about the tpp, you hear about that and
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hillary clinton backed away from that as well, tpp was designed to give the u.s. closer ties with other allies in asia, not china, right, as a blunt to china's ability to call the shots, as counter point to blunt. it's sort of interesting donald trump talked about being able to blunt china's rise and influence and negotiating ability, you'll hear from people that support free trade, think the whole conversation is completely a fantasy, they'll say that's what smart free trade is supposed to do. they also point out we have more than 300 legal complaints and actions now against people that are cheating, countries cheating against the united states in free trade deals and that there is enforcement of some deals. trade is always boring and arcane. now it suddenly has become oversimplified and really central to this debate. >> and stay with me, christine. i want to tell viewers this is
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expected to start at the pentagon any moment. we are watching that. we will jump to there when defense secretary ash carter begins speaking. strikes me, christine, some of this is vis ral, what you are feeling from people, people that see their parents did better than their grandparents, that's the expectation, now they're feeling like they're not even able to kind of perform economically or have the opportunities their parents did. feel like they're taking a step back. >> i call it low economic self esteem that seems to be pervasive in some of these sectors of the economy, not everywhere. if you have a college degree, the unemployment rate for people with a college degree is something like 3%. there are parts of the economy that are moving quickly, they're hiring for talent. and there's this other side of the equation, it is hard to measure how much the middle
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class has benefitted from globalization. a lot of people crunch numbers say an iphone costs at least twice as much as now, maybe three times, if not for the fact it is made someplace else, designed and sold here in the united states. a sweatshirt would be $75. i'll show you -- >> christine, i am going to cut you off. we're going to the pentagon. >> i am here today to announce changes in the defense department policies regarding transgender service members. before i announce what changes we're making, i want to explain why. there are three main reasons having to do with our future force, our current force, and matters of principle. the first and fundamental reason is that the defense department and military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now, the finest fighting force
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the world has ever known. our mission is to defend this country. we don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, air man, marine can best accomplish the mission. we have to have access to 100% of america's population for our all volunteer force to be able to recruit from among them the most highly qualified and to retain them. now, while there isn't definitive data on the number of transgender service members, looked at existing studies and the best estimate is 2500 people out of 1.3 million active duty service members, and about 1500 out of approximately 825,000 reserve service members are transgender. with the upper end of the range
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of estimates of around 7,000 in the active component, 4,000 in the reserves. although relatively few in number, we are talking about talented, trained americans serving their country with honor and distinction. we invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to train and develop each individual. we want to take the opportunity to retain people whose talent we invested in and who have proven themselves. this brings me to the second reason which is the reality is that we have transgender service members in uniform today. i have a responsibility to them and to their commanders to provide them both with clearer and more consistent guidance than provided by current policies. we owe commanders better guidance on how to handle questions such as deployment, medical treatment and other matters. and this is particularly true for small unit leaders like the
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senior enlisted and junior officers. also right now most of our transgender service members must go outside the military system to obtain medical care judged by doctors to be necessary. and they have to pay for it out of their own pocket. this is inconsistent with our promise to all our troops that we will take care of them and pay for necessary medical treatment. i and other defense department senior leaders have been studying this the past year, met with some transgender service members. they deployed all over the world, serving on aircraft, submarines, forward operating bases and here in the pentagon. while i learned in most cases their peers and local commanders recognize the value of retaining such high quality people, i also learned lack of clear guidelines how to handle this issue puts the commanders and service members in a difficult and
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unfair position. one service member i met with described how some people urged him to leave the military because of the challenges he was facing with our policies and he said he just wouldn't quit. he was too committed to the mission. this is where he wanted to be. these are the kind of people we want serving in our military. the third and final reason for the change, also important, is a matter of principle. americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so. after all, our all volunteer force is built on having the most qualified americans, and profession of arms is based on honor and trust. army chief of staff general milly recently reminded us of this when he said, and i quote him, the united states army is open to all americans who meet the standard regardless of who
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they are. embedded within our constitution is that very principle that all americans are free and equal. and we as an army are sworn to protect and defend that very principle. and we are sworn to even die for that principle. if we in uniform are willing to die for that principle, then we in uniform should be willing to live by that principle. general milly. in view of these three reasons to change our policy, last july i directed commencement of a study to identify the practical issues related to transgender americans serving openly and to develop an implementation plan that addresses those issues consistent with military readiness because our mission, defending the country, has to come first. i directed the working group to start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effect i haveness,
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unless and except pedestriimped identified. we had to look carefully and deliberately at medical, legal and policy considerations that have been evolving rapidly in recent years. had to take into account the unique nature of military readiness, make sure we got it right. i'm proud of the thoughtful and deliberate manner in which the department's leadership has pursued this review. i have been guided throughout by one central question. is someone the best qualified service member to accomplish our mission? let me describe the process used to study this over the last year. the leadership of the armed services, joint chiefs of staff, service secretaries, myself,
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together with personnel, training, readiness, medical specialists across the department of defense studied all data available to us. we also had the rand corporation analyze relevant data and studies to help us with our review. and we got input from transgender service members, from outside expert groups, and from medical professionals outside the department. we looked carefully at what lessons could be learned from the outside, including from allied militaries that already allow transgender service members to serve openly, and from the private sector also because even though we're not a business and are different company, their experience and practices are still relevant. >> it is worth noting, for example, that at least 18 countries allow transgender personnel to serve openly in their militaries. these include close allies, such
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as the united kingdom, israel and australia. we were able to study how they dealt with this issue. we also saw that among doctors, employers and insurance companies today, providing medical care for transgender individuals is becoming common and normalized, in both public and private sectors alike. today, over one-third of fortune 500 companies, including companies like boeing, cvs and ford, offer employee health insurance plans with transgender inclusive coverage. that's up from zero such companies in 2002. similarly, nondiscrimination policies at two-thirds of fortune500 companies now cover gender identity, up from just 3% in 2002. and for the public sector, all civilian federal employees have access today to a health
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insurance plan that provides comprehensive coverage for transgender-related care and medical treatment. all this represents a sea change from even just a decade ago. based on its analysis of allied militaries and the expected rate at which american transgender service members would require medical treatment that would impact their fitness for duty or deployability, rand's analysis concluded there would be quote, minimal readiness impacts from allowing tra ining transgender members." as a result of this year-long study, i am announcing today we are end egg the ban on transgender americans in the united states military. effective immediately, transgender americans may serve openly and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise
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separated from the military just for being transgender. additionally, i have directed that the gender identity of an otherwise-qualified individual will not bar them from military service or from any program. in taking these steps we're eliminating policies that can result in transgender members being treated differently from their peers based solely upon their gender identity rather than upon their ability to serve. we're confirming that going forward we will apply the same general principles, standards and procedures to transgender service members as we do to all service members. when i heard from the transgender service members i met with overwhelmingly was that they don't want special treatment. they want to be held to the same standards and be treated like everybody else. as i directed, the study identified practical issues that arise with respect to transgender service, and it developed an implementation plan to address those issues.
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let me briefly describe that implementation plan. i want to emphasize that in this case, as in the department's decisions on don't ask, don't tell, and women in service, simply declaring a change in policy is not effective implementation. that's why we have worked hard on the implementation plan and must continue to do so. these policies will be implemented in stages over the next 12 months. starting most immediately with guidance for current service members and their commanders, followed by training for the entire force, and then beginning to access new military service members who are transgender. implementation will begin today. starting today, otherwise qualified service members can no longer be involuntary separated, discharged or denied reenlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender. then, no later than 90 days from
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today, the department will complete and issue both a commander's guide book for leading currently serving -- for leaders of currently serving transgender members and medical guidance to doctors for providing transition related care, if required, to currently serving transgender service members. our military treatment facilities will begin providing transgender service members with all medically necessary care based on that medical guidance. also starting on that date, service members will be able to initiate the process to officially change their gender in our personnel management systems. next, over the nine months that follow, based on detailed guidance and training materials that will be prepared, the services will conduct training of the force, from commanders to medical personnel, to the operating force and recruiters. when the training is complete,
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no later than one year from today, the military services will begin accessing transgender individuals who meet all standards. holding them to the same physical and mental fitness standards as everyone else who wants to join the military. our initial accession policy will require an individual to have completed any medical treatment that their doctor has determined is necessary in connection with their gender transition, and to have been stable in their identified gender for 18 months, as certified by their doctor before they can enter the military. i've directed that this accession standard be reviewed no later than 24 months from today to ensure it reflects what we learn over the next two years, as this is implemented, as well as the most up to date medical knowledge. i've discussed the implementation plan with our senior military leaders, including chairman dunford. the chief set specific
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recommendations about the timeline, and i made adjustments to the implementation plan timeline to incorporate those recommendations. chairman has indicated the services support the final implementation timeline that i've laid out today. overall, the policies we're issuing today will allow us to assess -- excuse me -- access talent of transgender service members, to strengthen accomplishment of our mission, clarify guidance for commanders and military medical providers and reflect better the departments's and our nation's principles. i want to close by emphasizing that deliberate and thoughtful implementation will be key. i and the senior leaders of the department will therefore be ensuring that all issues identified in this study are addressed in implementation. i'm confident they can, and will, be addressed in implementation. that's why we're taking this step by step approach i described. i'm 100% confident in the
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ability of our military leaders and all our men and women in uniform to implement these changes in a manner that both protects the readiness of the force and also upholds values cherished by the military -- honor, trust, and judging every individual on their merits. i'm also confident that we have reason to be proud today of what this will mean for our military, because it is the right thing to do, and it is another step in ensuring that we continue to recruit and retain the most qualified people. and good people are the key to the best military in the world. our military and the nation it defends will be stronger. thank you. and now i'll take some questions. phil, you want to start? >> mr. secretary, could you talk a bit about -- i know you spoke of the cost for health care. are there other costs associated with this implementation plan, and could you elaborate a bit on timing issue, adjustments in timing you spoke to?
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>> sure. with respect to cost -- by the way, i'll mention that peter e levine will be here later and prepared to answer questions in detail. but the reason that rand concluded the costs would be minimal is that the medical treatment that service members who are currently transgender require is fairly straightforward, well understood. they were able to make those estimates and that was, as they said, minimal. and with respect to accessing new members, as i indicated, they will have already completed and been stable in their transition for a period of not less than 18 months before they can access service. there will be no medical costs associated with that. with respect tonight -- to the
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timetable for implementation, as i indicate in the stages, the preparation of the medical guidance, that's up to the doctors who need to do that so that doctors at military treatment facilities will all have a standard protocol. i've given them 90 days to do that. that's what they've asked for. the commanders' guidance, the -- as i indicated, the chairman and the chiefs asked for 90 days in that regard to prepare that commanders guidance and the training guidance. and i agreed to that. i think that's reasonable, that's the amount of time that will take them to complete the job. obviously they've begun some of that. then the rest of the time is time to train the force, which is comparable to the time we took to train the force say in don't ask, don't tell. we do have some experience in this kind of thing and we're following that template to successful implementation.
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change of this kind. >> separate subject. >> go ahead. >> -- today spoke to a proposal to strengthen coordination -- military coordination with russia in targeting al nusra in syria. i'm just wondering, you've been a skeptic in the past about cooperating with russia militarily in syria given that their motives are different than those of the united states. has something changed? would you support -- >> wlee >> we do have a professional relationship with the russian military to make sure there are no incidents and no safety issues as we both operate in the neighboring areas of syria. but i've said before, the russians got off on the wrong foot in syria. they said they were coming in to fight isil and that they would assist the political transition in syria towards a post-assad government that could run the country and put