An active-duty service member has undergone gender reassignment surgery, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Defense Department spokesman Dana White said in a statement that the military's health coverage paid for the surgery because the doctor who performed the operation deemed it to be medically necessary.
"Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery, therefore it was conducted in a private hospital," said White, who added that that because the service member "had already begun a sex-reassignment course of treatment ... a waiver was approved by the director of the Defense Health Agency."
Army Maj. Dave Eastburn said that waivers are required and routinely approved for medical procedures that military facilities don't have the expertise to perform.
The surgery was first reported by NBC News.