Pentagon has made no change yet to its transgender policy, says highest-ranking officer in U.S. military

The Trump administration struggled Thursday to explain the details of a ban on transgender service members announced a day earlier by the president, amid criticism from Republicans that the policy change went too far.

The military’s highest-ranking officer said in a letter to senior leaders Thursday that there would be “no modifications” to the current policy on transgender troops until further direction was received from the president.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” said Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The lack of clear direction from officials left the status of thousands of active transgender service members in limbo, one day after President Trump’s sudden announcement on Twitter. Dunford’s message to his troops suggested that those in leadership roles were caught off guard, despite Trump’s insistence that he was implementing the ban at the behest of the military.

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement,” began Dunford’s letter to the heads of the military ­branches as well as commanders and senior enlisted leaders.

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