WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has announced that the Pentagon will no longer discriminate against transgender troops, adding that barriers to entry in military service such as gender identity or sexual orientation have been abolished.

In a statement, the Pentagon chief said that the military cannot continue with a policy that prevents recruitment and retention of personnel on the basis of their qualifications.

“This is the right thing for the United States and the Pentagon that we must induct the people who can best accomplish the missions,” he added.

The move will have a wide-ranging impact and go a long way in compensating the active-duty transgenders in the US military, whose number ranges from 1,320 to 6,630, despite concerns about their medical, housing and uniform issues.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon abolished physical requirements for women to serve on the front line. And five years ago, the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was reversed, allowing US troops to openly engage in gay and lesbian relationships without facing discharge.