Two months after President Donald Trump made the announcement that the U.S. Army would no longer allow transgender service members to serve openly, Col. Christine E. Breen, the deputy secretary of the Army, said she was still unsure of what she would do to keep that secret.
“I don’t know that I’d be comfortable doing that at this time, because there’s so much to learn and I don’t want to put people in a position where they don’t have information about their own health and well-being,” Breen said during a Senate hearing Wednesday.
“We’re trying to figure out how to keep this secret and how to protect the families of our transgender service member that are coming forward.”
Breen told senators that her job as deputy secretary is to provide guidance to her superiors on how to manage the sensitive issue of transgender military members.
Brede, the top civilian at the Army’s headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has been leading efforts to make sure that information about transgender troops is not revealed in the media.
She was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel last year, and is now overseeing the Pentagon’s Office of Military Equal Opportunity, or OMO.
She is a former chief of staff at the U,S.
Department of Defense and is married to Army Maj. Gen. Mike Bredede, a former Army commander.
Brienne Breen’s new job title is deputy secretary at the Department of the Navy.
(Matt McClain/The Washington Post) Bredes wife, Brig. Gen., Brig. Col. Heather Bredene, is also the deputy director of OMO and has been overseeing the efforts to keep transgender service personnel from sharing their medical information.
She has worked to keep her family’s private medical information private.
Berenes office is also working to ensure that the medical information of transgender troops does not make it into the public domain.
In January, Bredere, along with Breen and their husband, was invited to attend a military ceremony in San Antonio, Texas.
They met with military leaders, members of the armed forces and a representative of the Texas National Guard, according to a transcript of their conversation provided by Bredecen.
Bdedes office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The OMO has been working to provide the best possible environment for our transgender troops, and we are very excited to have them as part of our team,” Bredefens office said in a statement to The Washington Post.
Biede is also a former military intelligence officer and a former Navy pilot, according the military’s official website.
“Our transgender troops will continue to serve under our strict standards of honor, professionalism, and duty,” the OMO said.
Baredes job is expected to last two years, though the White House has not yet set a time for her retirement.
Her new job comes as Breden and Breen have been at odds over the military transgender service.
In December, the two had a contentious exchange over transgender members being allowed to serve in the military, with Bredebes defense secretary questioning whether they should be allowed to continue serving if they are transgender.
The controversy spilled over into a tweet, which Bredewes staff and the White the Senate had previously tweeted about, in which she referred to transgender people as “people who are born with a gender identity.”
Bredegens office did no such thing, saying that Bredevs comments “do not reflect our current policy.”
In response, Breen wrote, “I hope the @POTUS is listening to the needs of our military and that you are able to focus on what is most important — our troops.”
Berence is currently the only active transgender person at the Pentagon, having joined the Army in 2016.
She served in the Air Force and the Army Reserve, the military equivalent of the Coast Guard.
She also has a doctorate in military leadership from the Naval War College.
She retired in January from the Army.
“As the top female military officer in the world, I am extremely honored and humbled to have been selected to serve as deputy commander for OMO,” Berenet said in an email.
“When the OCO Office of the Secretary and the OPMs civilian leadership convene in February to discuss our transition to civilian life, I will be able to provide them with guidance on how I can ensure that we do not compromise the integrity of our mission and those of our nation.”
The Army, like the Marine Corps, does not have an openly transgender officer in command.
Bledes appointment as deputy was first reported by Military.com.
The Washington Blade first reported the appointment.
Brennan Brown contributed to this report.