The Pentagon delayed the controversial Transgender troop enlistment for half a year. The transgender Troop enlistment would have allowed transgender people to take part in the armed services.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the reason behind the delay is because they want to let military chiefs to assess whether allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military will affect the readiness of the armed forces or not. In a memo released by Mattis, he noted that they did not decide on the delay themselves as they worked with service chiefs and secretaries to arrive with the decision, New York Daily News shared.

After consulting with the service chiefs and secretaries, Mattis decided that it was necessary to delay the enlistment for six months as they have to measure whether transgender troop enlistment will affect the ability of the military to defend the nation.

Six-month delay decreased from two-year request

The six-month delay came after the Army and the Air Force requested that there should be a two-year delay. This was rejected.

The review by the Army and the Air Force regarding the effect of transgender troop enlistment shall be completed by December 1 this year. Mattis assured that the additional six months will benefit everyone.

Delay met with criticism

House Minority Steny Hoyer of Maryland, a Democrat, said that the delay was outrageous.

He noted that there was no basis to propose the delay as they did not provide any evidence to support the move.

Hoyer continued to slam the decision and said that people who are “talented, driven, and capable and wish to serve in defense of our country” should be able to serve the Air Force and the Army if they are able to do so.

Hoyer enabled gays and lesbians to serve openly back in 2011 when he served as the Majority Leader.

Other LGBT advocates expressed their dismay. The Human Rights Campaign press secretary, Stephen Peters, said in a statement on Friday that the delay restricts the forces to recruit the “best and the brightest” regardless of one’s gender identity, The Hill reported.

The Palm Center also slammed the decision saying that the delay was approved even if there is no new data or argument to back up their claim that enlisting transgender troops might affect how the military could defend the country.

Transgender troops who are currently serving the country can continue with their service openly.