Mattis announces panel to analyze transgender military guidance

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday announced the creation of a panel to recommend how the military should put President Donald Trump’s new transgender military guidance into effect.

But for now, the current policy allowing transgender individuals already in the military to serve will remain in place, Mattis said in the statement.

On Friday, Trump officially advised the military to curb an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, and banned the military from using its resources on medical treatment regimens for individuals currently serving. But the specifics of how that advice will become reality are still in flux.

The panel will be comprised of individuals from the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security who will “provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the President’s direction,” the statement said.

Panel members will be tasked with developing a system 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,” according to a statement by Mattis.

The President’s memo asked DOD and DHS to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints and applicable law.

Members of the senior civilian leadership program at the Pentagon will also contribute to the panel’s effort, Mattis said, but the details of their role are not yet clear.

Mattis added that he expects to issue interim guidance on procedures impacted by the President’s policy.

Once the panel concludes, Mattis will provide his advice to the President on how to implement his policy direction.