Carter and Dunford grovel a bit re female guards at Gitmo and military commissions independence

Here’s a 4 p.m. before Memorial Day Weekend news dump item. The background is here. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for any similar from Senator Ayotte though!)

Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. on Gender-Neutral Staffing of Guard Forces at JTF-GTMO

Military commissions are part of our system of military justice.  The Department of Defense, and we personally, are committed to fairness and transparency in military commission proceedings, and to the independence of the judges who oversee them.

Our comments and those made by other senior officials regarding gender-neutral staffing of guard forces at JTF-GTMO have given rise to a concern that the comments may have appeared to be intended to influence the proceedings.  We continue to believe that our military has legitimate and strong interests in gender-neutral staffing, integration of women into all positions, and the prevention of gender discrimination.   We also believe that protection of the freedom of religion, and the access to representation, are fundamental to who we are.  To be clear, we had no intention to influence the military judges presiding over the military commissions.  Along with other senior officials in the Department, we respect the role of military judges in evaluating these issues as they might affect an individual case and we fully expect them to make their independent determinations on these and other matters.