Washington: The US Department of Defence is awaiting formal guidance from the White House on President Donald Trump's announcement about banning transgenders in American military, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The Pentagon's statement came a day after Trump said that transgenders will not serve in the US military "in any capacity", asserting that their service would bring "tremendous medical costs and disruption".
Announcing the decision on Twitter, Trump said the military would not "allow or accept" transgender service members, reversing a major last year's decision of his predecessor Barack Obama.
"The Department of Defence is awaiting formal guidance from the White House as a follow-up to the Commander-in-Chief's announcement on military service by transgender personnel," Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W White said in a statement.
"We will provide detailed guidance to the Department in the near future for how this policy change will be implemented. 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," White said.
Earlier, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford said that there will no change in the current policy unless such a direction is received from the White House.
"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the secretary of defence and the secretary has issued implementation guidance," Dunford wrote in a letter. In his letter, Dunford said that "we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect" while the military waits for further direction.
"As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions," Dunford said.
While there is no definitive data on the number of transgender service members, former defence secretary Ashton Carter had said that according to RAND, a US global policy think tank, there were about 2,500 people out of approximately 1.3 million active-duty service members, and about 1,500 out of 825,000 reserve service members who were transgenders.
Updated Date: Jul 28, 2017 08:37:27 IST