— -- The Pentagon is set to end the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military in July, according to Defense official.
One official says the lifting of the ban could be announced by Defense Secretary Ash Carter as soon as July 1, though final details remain to be worked out, which could delay the announcement.
Defense officials confirm that there will be a meeting Monday involving top personnel officers from all of the military services to discuss the transgender ban.
According to one of the officials, lifting the ban will be followed by a one-year implementation plan to address housing and personnel issues that would be required.
Last July, Carter announced lifting the ban and formed a task force to review how that would occur. He directed the task force to work under the assumption that the ban would be lifted.
The task force's assessment continued beyond the original six-month deadline and recommendations were not presented until February.
It is unclear how many transgender people might be serving in the military, but one study by UCLA estimated there could be as many as 15,000 among the 1.3 million active duty force.
"Our transgender service members and their families are breathing a huge sigh of relief," said Ashley Broadway-Mack, President of the American Military Partner Association, in a statement issued Friday following a USA Today story that broke the news of the pending announcement.
"Soon, anyone who is qualified will finally be able to serve our great nation, regardless of their gender identity. We are eagerly anticipating the details of this historic announcement, and we are incredibly grateful for the leadership Secretary Carter has shown in getting us to this critically important point for our military families."