Memo: Pentagon assesses readiness to recruit transgender applicants for military service

WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Defense is assessing its ability to recruit transgender people as soon as July 1, according to a memo signed by a top Pentagon official and seen by Reuters.

The Pentagon ended its ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military last year under Defense Secretary Ash Carter. That repeal lowered one of the last barriers on who could serve in the military and came after a 2011 decision to end the U.S. military's ban on openly gay and lesbian people.

A Pentagon spokesperson verified the contents of the memo, but declined further comment on the document.

The memo instructed each military branch to examine their "readiness to begin assessing transgender applicants into military service on July 1, 2017."

In the memo, dated May 8, Defense Secretary Robert Work instructed chiefs of each military branch and service secretaries to submit their reports by May 31. (Additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Sandra Maler and Andrew Hay)