Pentagon will allow transgender individuals to serve openly in U.S. military

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US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, DC (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)The Islamic State group's second in command has been killed in a US raid in Syria, Pentagon chief Ashton Carter confirmed March 25, 2016, in a move he said would hamper the operational ability of the jihadists. "The removal of this ISIL leader will hamper the ability for them to conduct operations inside and outside of Iraq and Syria," Carter told reporters of the death of Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, referring to him as Haji Imam and saying he served as finance minister for the group. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will let transgender individuals serve openly in the U.S. military, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the change Thursday. Carter says it’s the right thing to do. He says only a person’s qualifications should matter, and that there should be no other unrelated barriers to service.

Carter’s announcement comes despite concerns from senior military leaders that the department is moving too fast and that more time is needed to work through the changes.

The changes will be phased in over a year. But by October 1, transgender troops should be able to receive medical care and begin formally changing their gender identification in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

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