Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday
announced that transgender troops would continue serving pending the
results of a study.
The announcement comes just days after
President Donald Trump signed a memo directing the Pentagon to bar
transgender people from entering the U.S. military and directing
Mattis to decide how to handle active-duty transgender troops.
“The department will carry out the
president’s policy direction, in consultation with the Department
of Homeland Security,” Mattis wrote. “As directed, we will
develop a study and implementation plan, which will contain the steps
that will promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion,
with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with
applicable law. The soon arriving senior civilian leadership of DOD
will play an important role in this effort. The implementation plan
will address accessions of transgender individuals and transgender
individuals currently serving in the United States military.”
“Once the panel reports its
recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of
Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president
concerning implementation of his policy direction. In the interim,
current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain
in place. I expect to issue interim guidance to the force
concerning the president’s direction, including any necessary
interim adjustments to procedures, to ensure the continued combat
readiness of the force until our final policy on this subject is
issued,” he added.
Trump's guidance came roughly a month
after he said in a series of tweets that the military will no longer
“accept or allow” transgender troops to serve “in any
capacity.” The president said that the ban was needed to avoid
“tremendous medical costs and disruption” posed by transgender
people serving in the military.
lawsuits have been filed challenging Trump's ban.