(July 5, 2017) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered a six-month delay in allowing transgender troops to enlist in the military. The policy was to go into effect last Saturday, but Mattis wants to give the services more time to study how the new policy would affect “readiness and lethality.”
The delay does not affect transgender troops currently serving openly, which they have been allowed to do for a year under a policy created by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He gave the services until this month to come up with a policy to allow people who identify themselves as transgender to enlist.
In a memo sent to service chiefs and secretaries Friday, Mattis said, “After consulting with the service chiefs and secretaries, I have determined that it is necessary to defer the start of accessions for six months. We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality.
The review is to be completed by Dec. 1. During that time, the service chiefs will determine if transgender troops currently in uniform are facing problems and what changes may be required to accommodate them.
The Army and Air Force wanted a two-year delay.
The Pentagon does not release figures on the number of transgender troops now serving, but the Associated Press cites officials claiming more than 80 now in the Army, including the active component, the National Guard and Reserve, have been given approval to change their gender or are in the process of transitioning.
A study by Rand Corp. found between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender troops in the active component and 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserve components.