The Pentagon on Thursday lifted its ban on transgender service members serving openly in the U.S. military effective immediately, as Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited a need for clearer guidelines and the ability to maximize the military's all-volunteer force.
Senior military leaders had sought more time to fully develop and implement the complex new rules, arguing that the department was moving too fast, U.S. officials told The Associated Press. The move ends one of the last bans on service in the military.
Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Carter said the move was "the right thing to do."
According to officials, the service chiefs asked Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to relay their concerns to Carter. A senior U.S. official told the AP that Carter met this week with his military leaders and heard their concerns.