Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Tuesday that transgender ban that President Donald Trump announced earlier this summer will be put on hold, pending the results of a study, which would take six months, The Hill reports.
“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,” Mattis said in the statement Tuesday.
Trump announced in late July his plans to reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender individuals to serve in the military.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted back in July.
According to Trump, “the military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Mattis added that the Defense Department “will carry out the president’s policy direction, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security.”
“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,” Mattis said, adding that he would establish “a panel of experts” from within the departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide recommendations for implementing Trump’s directive.