Washington, D.C. -
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.Three lawsuits have been filed challenging Trump's ban