Pentagon Says Transgender Announcement Coming ‘Soon’

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

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Defense Secretary Ash Carter is expected to make an announcement on the admission of transgenders in the military “soon,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said at a press conference this week.

The Pentagon first announced plans to lift the prohibition on transgender service members last July. At the time, Carter said it would take around six months to prepare the military for such a major policy shift.

Internal negotiations have dragged on for months, however, as the Obama administration has struggled to get on the same page as military leaders.

One point of conflict has been over how long transgender people need to wait after “transitioning” genders before joining the military.

The Washington Post reported last month that the Navy and Air Force recommended a minimum time period of 12 months, while the Army and Marine Corps insisted on a 24-month waiting period.

The Post quoted an anonymous defense official who said that defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness Brad Carter had pushed for a six-month waiting period — one-quarter the time period recommended by the Army and Marine Corps — before his resignation last April.

At a press conference Monday, Cook said that secretary Carter “challenged people within the department to work out issues resolving — to try and resolve this issue.”

“And there has been progress in terms of trying to consider how to move forward here and resolve this issue in the fashion that he first outlined several months ago.”

Citing the “significant conversations” happening within the defense department, Cook said he expects Carter “to be able to announce something soon.”

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