The reality is that Mattis is just following orders. Trump’s directive gave him until February 18th 2018 to come up with recommendations regarding how to address transgender troops who are currently serving.
“IN THE INTERIM, CURRENT POLICY WITH RESPECT TO CURRENTLY SERVING MEMBERS WILL REMAIN IN PLACE.” – DEFENSE SECRETARY JIM MATTIS
“The department will carry out the president’s policy direction, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security. As directed, we will develop a study and implementation plan, which will contain the steps that will promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law,” Mattis said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mattis did advise he is assembling a panel to provide “advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction,” which he will use to help make his recommendation to the president in February. “In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place,” Mattis said regarding those who are currently serving.
On August 25th, President Trump formally issued his order to ban transgender individuals from enlisting in the military while directing the Secretary of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to devise a plan for those who are currently serving. As of today, there have been no changes to the current directive despite contrary reports from multiple news outlets claiming that Mattis put a halt to the ban pending further study.