The defense department’s second in command earlier this month penned a memo instructing military leaders to report back on their plans to accept new transgender troops by July 1, USA Today reports.
The memo by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work obtained by USA Today calls for the heads of the respective military branches to weigh their readiness to begin accepting new, transgender military personnel come July 1. The assessments, USA Today reports, are due May 31.
“The personnel policies of this Department are designed to enhance the warfighting readiness and lethality of the force that protects our country,” the May 8 memo reads. “We do not intend to reconsider prior decisions unless they cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield.”
Last June, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the Pentagon will lift its ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military. USA Today previously reported that nearly 6,600 of the 1.3 million troops in the active duty military force are transgender, according to RAND Corp., a nonprofit military research company. RAND Corp. provided insight to the Department of Defense regarding the costs and numbers associated with openly-transgender troops.
Treatment for transgender troops, which could range from counseling to hormone replacement therapy to gender confirmation surgery, could cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, according to RAND.