Transgender troops in military can continue to serve for now, Mattis says

Thursday, 31 Aug, 2017

Mattis says the Pentagon won't change its policy of allowing transgender people to serve in the USA military until he receives recommendations from a panel that is supposed to report back on the impact of a ban.

There is a proviso that the "Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted".

"In my judgment, the previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Departments' longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year's policy change would not have those negative effects", Trump's memo reads. The current policy, which allows transgender individuals to openly serve, will remain intact pending the results of an important study that Mattis ordered in June, just hours before the Pentagon was set to allow transgender recruits to join the military. An estimate by the Rand Corp. has suggested that there could be as many as 6,600 transgender troops on active duty and more than 4,100 in the Reserves. With Trumps plans to deploy 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, removing transgender soldiers doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially given it's a choice to serve.

- Close to 60 retired generals from various military branches have issues a statement against the transgender ban, warning that it would degrade military readiness and cause serious disruption in the armed forces.

Since then, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as well as many others have condemned the military ban on transgender individuals and have urged Trump to reconsider.

As Stern wrote, Mattis' actions fall squarely within the bounds of the White House memorandum directing him to act on this issue.

Defense Secretary James Mattis stands during a honor cordon at the Pentagon on Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia.

Opponents of Trump's transgender service ban argue that it was a politically calculated move to discriminate against transgender individuals and that the President did not have any military basis the decision.

Summary: Defense Secretary James Mattis will allow now serving transgender troops to remain in the military.

According to Mattis, the panel of experts will include members of the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. On that same day, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, along with Outserve Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLN) also filed a legal challenge. In fact, a similar study was conducted before the Pentagon lifted the original ban on transgender service members under the Obama administration. That means it is possible that the openly transgender persons already enlisted will not be ejected.