Pentagon delays decision on transgender recruits

(CNN) — The Pentagon is delaying a decision on allowing transgender people to enlist in the military for six months, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

“We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote in the memo.

Mattis said “this action in no way presupposes the outcome of the review.”

In 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the military, but he said the process would occur in stages.

Mattis was facing a July 1 deadline for deciding on transgender recruits.

Last week, leaders from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps submitted a request to delay the July 1 deadline to decide whether incoming service members already identifying as transgender could enlist if they have been “stable” in their gender identity for 18 months.

Many Republicans in Congress are opposed to allowing transgender people to serve. An amendment that would have prevented transgender people from doing so was debated during Wednesday’s markup of the House’s defense authorization bill. The sponsor, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, said she would wait to see what the Pentagon did before moving forward with her provision.