Pentagon Official Says Current Transgender Policy Remains for Now

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"We will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," said Gen. Joseph Dunford in a note to all service chiefs, commanders and enlisted military leaders.

The nation's top military officer says U.S. policy on transgender individuals serving in uniform has not — and will not — change until Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives the president's policy direction and Mattis determines how to implement it.

Gen. Joseph Dunford is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford made the statement in a note Thursday to all service chiefs, commanders and enlisted military leaders.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the note.

Dunford is responding to President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter Wednesday that the government will not allow or accept transgender people in the military "in any capacity."

Dunford says that for now, "we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump's abrupt ban on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military caught the Pentagon flat-footed. Defense officials struggled to explain what they called Trump's "guidance."

Trump's ban, posted to Twitter on Wednesday rather than by formal announcement, drew bipartisan denunciations and threw currently serving transgender soldiers into limbo.

His tweet said: "Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

Trump wrote that he had consulted with "my generals and military experts," but he didn't mention Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the retired Marine general who less than one month ago told the military service chiefs to spend another six months weighing the costs and benefits of allowing transgender individuals to enlist.

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