A study commissioned by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter found that a small portion of service members are transgender and that allowing them to serve openly in the military would cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness.
The study by the RAND Corporation estimated that 2,450 of the 1.2 million active-duty members of the military are transgender, and that every year around 65 will seek to transition to the other gender.
The RAND study said that if the Pentagon did not cover the medical procedures for service members — like hormone therapy and surgery — they would likely avoid seeking medical care and would have higher rates of substances abuse and suicide.
Paying for the procedures would cost the Pentagon between $2.9 million to $4.2 million a year, the report said. By comparison, the Pentagon each year spends $6 billion of its $610 billion budget on medical costs for active-duty service members.