The Pentagon released new guidelines for the military on Friday that say that transgender troops currently serving in the military can re-enlist in the next several months despite debate surrounding how President Donald Trump's ban on such service members should be enforced.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a memo to top military leaders that a panel will determine how Trump's ban will be implemented. Trump directed the military to enforce an indefinite ban on transgender people from enlisting in the military, but left it to Mattis to decide what to do with those transgender people currently serving.
Members of Congress sent a letter to Trump asking him to reconsider the ban.
"When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country," wrote Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in a statement.
McCain, along with several other senators including Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jack Reed (D-RI), introduced a bill that would protect transgender people in the military by preventing the Department of Defense from removing them from service based solely on the fact of their gender identity.
Trump's initial thoughts on the matter ca,me in the form of several tweets in July which left senior defense officials scrambling to explain what they called Trump's guidance. A month later, Trump issued formal instructions.
Mattis said the Pentagon will create a plan that "will promote military readiness, lethality and unit cohesion."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)