Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has announced that the military will not change its transgender policy until President Donald Trump sends the Pentagon direction on changes and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis implements it. From Politico:

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote in the message, a copy of which was provided to POLITICO. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions,” he continued.

On Wednesday, Trump announced via Twitter that after he consulted with generals and military experts, the government decided not to accept or all transgender people since the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption.”

As CBS News points out, Dunford’s “statement suggests that Mattis was given no presidential direction on changing the transgender policy.”

A U.S. official also said that Dunford did not know that Trump planned to announce the new policy on Wednesday. From CNN:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not have an answer Wednesday on what would happen to active transgender military members but said the White House and the Defense Department would work together “as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.”

But how those next steps would play out still remains unclear.

The Pentagon has asked the White House for a written directive spelling out its intentions and directions on transgender policy so the military can now begin implementing guidance, according to a defense official with direct knowledge.

A main issue now is whether currently serving members will be discharged and whether they will receive an honorable discharge so they can continue to receive whatever medical and retiree benefits they are entitled to based on their years of service, a defense official said.

From Politico:

Dru Brenner-Beck, a retired Army judge advocate general and president of the National Institute for Military Justice, told POLITICO Wednesday said that under normal procedure the president would issue an executive order instructing the Pentagon to go about changing the department’s personnel policy — but only after Defense Department officials coordinated with various parts of the military and weighed in on the proposed changes in the draft order.

Brenner-Beck said its even legally questionable whether a declaration from the president’s personal social media account is enough to launch the process of rewriting Pentagon regulations, calling it “a whole new frontier.”

“A tweet doesn’t really give you policy,” she said. “How do you implement a tweet? Usually you would have some kind of an actual policy document that comes down.”