The plan, which is  now being formalized, would allow transgender people to openly serve in the military and protect current service members from being discharged based on their individual gender-identities.

Members of Congress have been notified DOD will establish a working group to study policy and military readiness issues over the next six months.

Being transgender says nothing about one’s ability to serve in the military.

Any decisions to force out people already serving during the waiting period would be referred to the acting undersecretary of personnel, according to the AP’s sources. Check back soon for further information.

The Pentagon announced on Monday that it intends to lift the ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military.

The ban will remain in place until the services complete their studies. The group would also develop uniform guidelines.

However, military officials told AP that their goal was to avoid forcing any transgender service members to leave the service during the interim.

Senior brass has been skeptical of changing the transgender policy, arguing in private that the services have undergone rapid change in recent years and needed time to adjust to them, according to two Defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

“Recognizing that our openness to diversity is one of the things that have allowed us to be the best in the world, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so”, Carter said. The military has dealt with many similar questions as it integrated the ranks by race, gender and sexual orientation. Until the previous year, many served quietly in fear that their gender identification would force them out of service. They pointed to the ban on gay and lesbian troops being lifted, and women are being integrated into previously closed combat fields. The Department of Veterans Affairs was one such agency that could not offer guaranteed home loans, survivor benefits, and burial rights – among other benefits – to same-sex couples living in states that did not recognize their unions.

This gives military leadership time to evaluate the legal, medical, and administrative implications.

Advocacy groups pushing for open military service for transgender Americans were quick to applaud the apparent step forward.