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Mattis refreezes Pentagon policy on transgender troops

31 August 2017

Though some stories came out announcing a "freeze" on Trump's ban of transgender people in the military, sadly, that's just not true. That directive gave Mattis until February 21 to "determine how to address transgender individuals now serving in the United States military" and called for "further study" of the issue even though there has already been extensive study on transgender service members. However, this isn't a win.

"In the interim, current policy with respect to now serving members will remain in place".

The defense secretary's statement yesterday said he will "establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president's direction".

". 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.

According to Mattis, the panel of experts will include members of the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

The ACLU is suing the Trump administration over the ban, as are Lambda Legal and OutServe.

On July 26, President Trump tweeted that transgender people were banned from the military, and his tweet caught many by surprise. They will examine how the Pentagon can implement President Trump's directive banning transgender individuals from entering the armed forces.

Although this marks a serious change in policy, there are two important ways in which the final memo is less severe than the blanket ban initially implied by Trump's tweets.

The congressional debate over transgender service, shaping up to be the most contentious issue on the annual policy bill, is one of several avenues that opponents of barring transgender individuals from serving are exploring to fight Trump's memorandum.

When asked on Friday how much had been spent on transgender-related medical procedures over the previous year, a senior USA official referred questions to the Pentagon. It continued, "Mattis did not reverse Trump or defy him on the broader ban against new recruits who are transgender people".

On Wednesday the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the drill for the launch of the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile was "like a real war" and the first step by North Korea's military for operations in the Pacific and "a meaningful prelude to containing Guam".

Mattis has previously expressed that his main concern is military readiness and not political issues. The others are Ryan Karnoski, a 22-year-old transgender man who lives in Seattle, and a transgender high school student from Corpus Christi, Texas. But Mattis previously expressed skepticism toward that study's conclusions, according to the Washington Post, indicating he may be interested in research that leads the Pentagon to an alternate conclusion on transgender troops' military impact.