The announcement comes just days after President Donald Trump signed a memo directing the Pentagon to bar transgender people from entering the USA military and directing Mattis to decide how to handle active-duty transgender troops.
Mattis' statement puts President Trump's plan to ban all individuals who are transgender from the military on hold. (The latter is included because the Coast Guard falls under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security rather than that of the Defense Department.) The president's intention to issue such guidance was first reported late last Wednesday.
"We are never out of diplomatic solutions". The difference was, instead of determining the impact recruited troops would have on military readiness, Carter wanted to study the impact current active transgender soldiers would have on the battlefield.
Trump signed the directive on Friday blocking new transgender recruits from joining the military and preventing the Pentagon from paying for medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals now serving in the military. Interestingly, it was Mattis who delayed the Pentagon's plan to accept new transgender troops until more studies were completed to assess the effect of an influx of transgender troops would have on the military. Transgender service members have also filed suit in federal court to challenge the directive.
". The military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and can not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail", Trump tweeted in July.
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His move buys him time to make decisions on whether to allow transgender individuals to continue serving or how to properly discharge them.
Trump signed a memo instituting the ban last Friday, setting an effective date of March 23, 2018, to allow leaders at the defense and homeland security departments to implement it.
The ACLU is suing the Trump administration over the ban, as are Lambda Legal and OutServe. However, a quick scan of the numbers (and a study by the RAND group) shows that at most trans service people cost the military $8.4 million dollars a year in medical costs.
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"Policy changes to open more roles to women and to allow gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly in the US military have similarly had no significant effect on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness", Rand said.