No changes yet to US military transgender policy: Joint Chiefs

AFP , Thursday 27 Jul 2017

The US military's top officer directed military heads on Thursday not to implement any changes to current policy on transgender personnel, a day after President Donald Trump tweeted they would be banned from serving.

General Joe Dunford, who is Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a short memo to service heads and senior enlisted leaders that the current policy should remain in effect until Trump had given formal direction to the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issues new guidance.

"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," Dunford wrote.

"As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."

Transgender troops have been able to serve openly for more than a year, though a plan to allow them to sign up by July 1 was put on hold by Mattis.

Trump said the ban would save on the "tremendous" medical costs and disruptions that transgender personnel could create.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said the department was still waiting for formal guidance from the White House after Trump's tweets.

"The Department will continue to focus on our mission of defending our nation and on-going operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect," she said in a statement.

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