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Defense Secretary allows transgender troops to continue to serve pending study

[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis [official website] on Tuesday released a statement [press release] declaring that a panel will be established to determine how to implement President Donald Trump's "Military and Service by Transgender Individuals" Presidential Memorandum [text] and that all currently serving members of the military will remain serving under the current policy until the panel has provided a report of its recommendations. The panel will include experts from with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The implementation plan will "promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law." Once Mattis receives the report, he will consult with the secretary of Homeland Security, followed by providing recommendations to Trump. Mattis will also be providing interim guidance regarding the memorandum "to ensure the continued combat readiness of the force."

Last week Trump formally issued [JURIST report] a memorandum to ban transgender individuals serving in the US military. In addition to the ban, Trump also prohibited the use of military resources funding sex reassignment surgical procedures for military members except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex. On Monday lawsuits were filed [JURIST report] against the transgender military ban by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN [Official websites], declaring that the ban violated the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment. The previous ban on transgender military service was lifted [JURIST report] last July under then-president Barack Obama, reversing a long-standing policy that prevented transgender persons from serving in the military and made a transgender identity grounds for discharge.

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