WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday in a statement that the Defense Department has received President Donald J. Trump’s memorandum addressing the military service of transgender persons.
DoD will carry out the president's policy direction in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, Mattis said. The memorandum, dated Aug. 25, 2017, and entitled "Military Service by Transgender Individuals," directs DoD to develop a study and implementation plan that will “contain the steps that will promote military readiness, lethality and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law,” the defense secretary said.
“The soon-arriving senior civilian leadership of DoD will play an important role in this effort,” he said. “The implementation plan will address accessions of transgender individuals and transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military.”
“Our focus must always be on what is best for the military's combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield. To that end, I 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,” Mattis said. “Panel members will bring mature experience, most notably in combat and deployed operations, and seasoned judgment to this task. The panel will assemble and thoroughly analyze all pertinent data, quantifiable and non-quantifiable. Further information on the panel will be forthcoming.”
Once the panel reports its recommendations, Mattis said he will consult with the secretary of homeland security before providing 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,” the defense secretary said. “I expect to issue interim guidance to the force concerning the president's direction, including any necessary interim adjustments to procedures, to ensure the continued combat readiness of the force until our final policy on this subject is issued.”