Top Generals Say There is No Change in Military Transgender Policy. No Official Orders Issued

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Donald Trump’s announcement that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military caught the nation by surprise. And just what his tweets meant for those currently serving remains unclear. Now the military has weighed in and announced there will no change in the policy…yet.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a letter to military service chiefs Thursday. In it, he said that the policy on who is or isn’t allowed to serve will not change until proper protocol is followed. In this case, he’s referring to the need for the White House to send the Defense Department an official request for the Secretary of Defense to issue new guidelines.

Simply tweeting is not enough.

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” General Dunford wrote. “As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”

Reuters first broke the news, and it is being heralded by some as a refutation of Trump’s announcement.

The New York Times reports that “Mr. Trump’s announcement surprised military leaders at the Pentagon, who considered the matter largely settled after President Barack Obama last year granted transgender people the right to serve openly.”

The Pentagon seemed so blindsided by the move that Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, issued a statement directing all questions to the White House.

The statement today helps alleviate some of the fears faced by those currently serving. It does little to change the long term outlook, though. President Trump often shoots from the proverbial hip with tweets, but later backs them up with more articulate and official protocol.