While serving as Army Secretary, Esper was asked by reporters in 2018 whether soldiers had concerns about serving beside openly transgender individuals. He replied that "It really hasn't come up. " After he was nominated to become Secretary of Defense, he said that being transgender is not an issue with him, stating that he has met several transgender servicemembers and was impressed with many of them. He supports Directive-type Memorandum-19-004, claiming it is not a "blanket ban" on transgender military service and said that he believes anyone who can meet the military standards without "special accommodations" and is worldwide deployable should be able to serve, including transgender individuals as long as they can adhere to cisgendered standards associated with their biological sex. He said people in the military with gender dysphoria would have their condition assessed and "in many cases", be offered waivers that would allow them to serve. He cited the United States Department of Defense's 2018 Report and Recommendations on Military Service by Transgender Persons, which claims that persons who have a history of gender dysphoria, who have undergone medical treatments for gender transition, or who are unable or unwilling to meet the military's standards associated with their biological sex, could hurt military readiness and effectiveness and should be evaluated to see whether they should be retained or expelled from service.