"I go back to the bottom line: Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity, if they fit the qualifications and can do it," Hagel told ABC News.
If reviewed and negated, Hagel acknowledged that more nuanced policies would have to be incorporated into combat procedures.
"The issue of transgender is bit more complicated because it has a medical component to it," he continued. "These issues require medical attention. Austere locations where we put our men and women in many cases don't always provide that kind of opportunity."
Earlier this year Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders said there is "no compelling medical rationale" to ban transgendered soldiers from serving in the military.© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.