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The Trump administration released an order on Friday night that would disqualify most transgender people from serving in the military.

Trump's new order allows the defense secretary and the homeland security secretary to "exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals".

When Donald Trump originally banned transgender members from serving in the USA military past year, he cited what he called "tremendous" medical costs these members created.

"There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops", Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Council president, said in a statement on Friday.

The decision revokes a full ban that Trump issued last summer but disqualifies US troops who have had gender reassignment surgery, as recommended by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Last month the first openly transgender recruit joined the military.

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Trump announced on Twitter in July that he was reversing a 2016 policy instituted by former President Barack Obama, saying the U.S.

The new rules follow President Trump's calls past year for a complete ban on transgender military service.

He has just issued a memorandum that would seek to ban potential enlistees from joining the military if they have "a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria".

It is possible that the ban will never actually be put in place: while the Trump administration is framing the order as "a new policy developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders", it is substantively the same as the previous Trump policy, which is now facing multiple lawsuits on constitutional grounds.

Instead, it issued new policy guidance to recruits to explain how to enlist transgender men and women, and stated in a policy paper that the guidance "shall remain in effect until expressly revoked".

A Defense Department spokesman said the Pentagon would "continue to assess and retain transgender service members".

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"What the White House has released tonight is transphobia masquerading as policy", the ACLU's Joshua Block said in a statement accusing the administration of forcing transgender people to choose between their humanity and their country.

A 2016 study conducted by the government-funded RAND Corporation for the Pentagon estimated that almost 4,000 transgender troops were serving on active duty and in the reserves.

Transgender troops "present considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality", the latest memorandum said.

Reports have said it is still unclear whether this new policy will be enacted, and what the legal challenges will be.

On Friday, Pentagon officials said they would continue to comply with federal law.

Though it is often a fool's game to read too much into the administration's motives, the announcement, with its odd timing, could be seen as an attempt to mollify Trump's hard-right base hours after he signed a massive spending bill that did not include significant funding for a border wall.

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The Democratic National Committee also weighed in late Friday, calling the decision "an insult to our courageous transgender service members and all who wear our nation's uniform", adding that "discrimination is not a national security strategy".