Mattis: US Is 'Never out of Diplomatic Solutions' Concerning Korea

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has announced that he's still allowing trans people to serve in the military, despite the White House's orders directing the Department of Defense to ban trans people.

The 45th President of the United States gave an order over the weekend to cease military funding for transition-related medical expenses, as well banning any trans people from joining the Forces in the future.

The White House official who briefed reporters on the memo declined to say whether current transgender troops would be allowed to remain in the military under those policy guidelines. The study will determine transgender troops' "military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints, and applicable law". Mattis had requested six more months to study the issue when Trump tweeted about barring transgender service members.

A 2016 Rand study, commissioned by the Department of Defense and cited by Carter last summer, estimated there might be between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members on active duty. "The reasons given for the restrictions never came to fruition, were based on fear and prejudice, and the military was ultimately stronger based on a swell of new applicants and diversity in its ranks".

Democrats are working on crafting an amendment to the bill that could reverse Trump's directive barring transgender individuals from serving in the military, or at least protect transgender individuals now serving, according to aides and advocates.

DoD will carry out the president's policy direction in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, Mattis said.

The original ban on transgender troops was lifted a year ago under former President Barack Obama but Trump reinstated it Friday, citing cost and disruption.

The U.S. military had a longstanding ban on transgender troops openly serving. President Trump specifically notes that an about-face is possible if the secretary of defense "provides a recommendation to the contrary that I find convincing".

But, as part of that implementation plan, officials need to determine how to address transgender troops now serving in the military. That ban will go into effect in about 7 months, on March 23. In addition to legislating on LGBT service in 1993, Congress legislates today on almost every aspect of military manpower policy, from recruiting standards to education requirements to the total number of troops each service can have. The notion that there is any good faith "study" being conducted is a blatant pretext for unmitigated, vicious, baseless discrimination. ACLU attorney Chase Strangio pointed out that Mattis can only offer recommendations to the Trump administration and that he would be unable to shield transgender troops from being dismissed.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday took a less extreme stance on North Korea than President Donald Trump, who issued a number of zig-zagging, escalating statements after the nation fired a missile over Japan earlier this week.

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