President Trump formalized his ban on military service for transgender individuals on Friday in an official memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, John Mattis, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke. The ban was first informally announced through a series of tweets on July 26. In the tweets, POTUS stated that transgender people were not to serve in the US military, in any capacity. His reasoning was that the military needed to focus on "decisive and overwhelming victory" and transpeople would cause a financial burden, due to their medical needs, and cause general disruption.

The Obama administration

Prior to June 2016, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security did not allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the US military and they were authorized to discharge such individuals.

This longstanding policy was dismantled by the Obama administration near the end of his term.

Last June, the former Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, announced that transgender individuals would be allowed to openly serve in the US military. The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security were to begin to provide funding for their medical care - including sex-reassignment surgeries - and military leaders were to be properly trained in the acceptable treatment of transgender individuals. The new policy did not allow for the discharge or denial of the re-enlistment of service members solely based on their gender identity. The full policy was to be implemented on July 1, 2017.

However, Mattis announced a 6-month delay to the implementation of the policy in June so he could review the policy and ensure it would not negatively affect the "readiness or lethality" of our troops.

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He wanted to be sure of transgender individuals' ability to serve and defend the nation.

Trump's official memorandum

Trump uses similar language in his memo. He argues that the Obama administration failed to provide a sufficient amount of evidence that changing the "longstanding policy and practice" of not allowing transpeople in the military would not have a negative effect on the military's "effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources." According to Trump, more study is needed to ensure there won't be any negative consequences as a result of changing the policy.

Therefore, Trump officially directed the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to return to the old policy in regard to the ability of transpeople to serve in the military. In addition, he ordered them to halt all use of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security's resources to fund the surgical procedures for sex-reassignment, unless doing so would compromise the health of the individuals who have already begun to transition.

These changes are to take effect on March 23.

In addition, Trump requested the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, to submit a plan to execute the general policy and the specific directives in his memo by Feb. 21. He states their plan must be consistent and appropriate in regard to "military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary restraints, and applicable laws. Finally, Trump asked for a plan on how to address the transgender individuals who are currently serving in the US military. He specified that no action would be taken against them until a plan is in place.