Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday ordered a 6-month study aimed at ending the Pentagon's current regulations banning transgender people from serving openly in the military, calling the current policy “outdated.”

“The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions,” Carter said in a statement. “At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite.”

A working group lead by Carter's personnel undersecretary, Brad Carson, will spend the next six months assessing the effects of ending the ban.

Carter said that the group will work under the presumption that transgender individuals should be able to serve openly “without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified.”

While transgender people are not allowed to serve openly in the military, an estimated 15,000 transgender people serve in the active-duty military and the reserves.

According to the AP, chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force “did not express opposition to lifting the ban” during recent Pentagon meetings.