Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving an Obama-era policy on transgender military service members largely intact, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban that would keep transgender people from serving in the USA military.
Transgender soldiers serving in the United States military will keep their jobs, at least for now.
In a statement, Mattis said he would establish a panel of experts from within the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security to "to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president's direction". While now active trans military members can keep serving until then, Trump has directed the military not to accept any new transgender recruits.
Mattis says in a statement released August 30 that the Pentagon, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, will develop a plan that "will promote military readiness, lethality and unit cohesion".
It remains to be seen exactly how Mattis will be studying the effects of trans service members out side of reports that have already been done, but he may very well come back to the President by saying the ban will not be beneficial to the military.
The U.S. military had a longstanding ban on transgender troops openly serving. New transgender troops will not be allowed to enlist, but the Friday guidelines gave Mattis the discretion to study the issue and determine how to implement Trump's decision.
How many transgender service members are in the military?
On July 26, President Trump tweeted that transgender people were banned from the military, and his tweet caught many by surprise.
Trump's announced that he would reinstate the ban before providing guidance to the Pentagon.
The Rand study looked at the effects of integration efforts of foreign militaries and determined "little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness". First, the ban portion of the memo addresses only "accession", or initial enlistment, of openly transgender persons.
Mattis issued a statement Tuesday that the Pentagon will study the issue with a panel of experts and develop an implementation plan for Trump's directive by February 2018.
It's no sure thing, however, that any amendment targeting Trump's transgender directive would get to a vote. It continued, "Mattis did not reverse Trump or defy him on the broader ban against new recruits who are transgender people". The effective dates for all three changes are in 2018.