Washington: US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is open to reviewing a Pentagon policy that bars transgender individuals from military service, he said in an interview that aired on Sunday.
"Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have the opportunity, if they fit the qualifications and can do it," Hagel said in an interview on ABC`s "This Week" program.
The policy "continually should be reviewed. I`m open to that," the Pentagon chief said during the interview taped on Saturday.
During his first term in office, President Barack Obama abolished the Pentagon`s "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" policy requiring military recruits to hide their homosexuality, or risk being expelled from the service.
But Hagel said, "the issue of transgender is a bit more complicated."
Being transgender, "has a medical component to it. These issues require medical attention," he said.
"Austere locations where we put our men and women in many cases don`t always provide that kind of opportunity."