By Dan Lamothe
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Tuesday that he is freezing the implementation of President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, saying that he will first establish a panel of experts to provide advice and recommendations on how to carry out Trump’s directive.
The Pentagon confirmed the move in a statement attributed to Mattis, saying that he will first develop a study and implementation plan “as directed” by the president in a memorandum released Friday. Soon-to-be arriving political appointees at the Defense Department “will play an important role in this effort,” Mattis added. The plan will address both the potential for transgender people looking to serve in the military for the first time and transgender troops who already are serving.
“Our focus must always be on what is best for the military’s combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield,” Mattis said. “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.”
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