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New in 2021: The transgender ban, diversity initiatives and toxic chemical research — what will become of these Trump-era policies?

While the last four years will be remembered for the turmoil they wreaked on the Defense Department, there are a handful of initiatives championed by Trump administration defense secretaries that could see some changes under a Biden administration.

Among those are the ban on transgender service members, announced in 2017 and enacted in 2019, as well as efforts to study and mitigate the effects of toxic “forever” chemicals on military installations and steps toward stronger diversity and inclusion policies within the military.

“Policymakers who aim to advance military personnel policy that maximizes readiness benefits and minimizes overall costs would be well served by reconsidering the current transgender ban, weighing the costs and benefits of the policy, and noting our findings that the costs far outweigh the benefits,” Palm Center researchers wrote in a November report.

Policy documents from President-elect Joe Biden show plans to reverse multiple Trump administration policies that affected LGBTQ people, including the ban on transgender troops.

Biden’s campaign was also the first to include environmental justice language specifically targeting study and clean-up of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have contaminated hundreds of military bases.

And finally, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion stood up in the fall, an initiative that meshes neatly with Biden’s policy goals, according to his campaign platform.

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