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Military heads request 6-month review period before allowing transgender people to enlist

The heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps will seek a six-month review period before letting transgender people enlist in their respective branches, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended a ban on transgender service members last fall, although the military chiefs had until July 1 to decide on how policies around new transgender members would be implemented. "Officials said Friday that the chiefs believe the extra half-year would give the four military services time to gauge if currently serving transgender troops are facing problems and what necessary changes the military bases might have to make," AP writes. Three of the four services actually requested even more time, with the Army and Air Force specifically preferring two additional years to review possible concerns.

The Associated Press notes that "key concerns are whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also want to review how transgender troops are treated, if they're discriminated against, or have had disciplinary problems."

Although government numbers aren't public, a recent RAND study determined there are somewhere between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in active duty and between 1,500 and 4,000 in reserves. Defense Secretary James Mattis will make the final decision about the potential delay.