United States military officials seek to delay allowing transgender people to enlist

Former defense secretary Ash Carter had set 1 July as the deadline for troops meeting physical standards and medical standards if they have lived in their gender identity for 18 months.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White refused to confirm the report.

Instead, the Army and Air Force asked for two more years to finish studying how to welcome transgender troops, officials with the branches told BuzzFeed News.

Key concerns are whether now enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs.

"We're disappointed that a further delay is under consideration and urge Secretary Mattis to move forward expeditiously in implementing this recruitment policy which will strengthen our forces by allowing anyone who is qualified and willing to serve our nation".

"The limited research on the effects of foreign military policies indicates little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness", the RAND study found.

"Secretary Mattis has made clear he believes there is a need to increase troop levels, so this proposed delay is disappointing because it's such an incredibly important recruitment change", AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack said in a statement.

The Pentagon ended its ban on openly transgender people serving in the USA military in 2016 under the Obama administration.

"Each day that passes without implementing the final piece of this important policy harms our military readiness and restricts the Armed Forces ability to recruit the best and the brightest", said Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Military leaders also want to review how transgender troops are treated, if they're discriminated against or have had disciplinary problems, the officials said.

"The assessment is narrowly focused on readiness to access transgender applicants, not on gender transition by now serving Service members".

Officials said there are about 160 sailors in the Navy who are somewhere in the process of gender transition. In addition, the military was discharging highly trained and talented transgender service members on the basis of regulations that were almost forty years out of date.

  • Larry Hoffman