President Donald Trump released an order Friday banning most transgender troops from serving in the military except under "limited circumstances".

This follows up on his calls last year to ban transgender individuals from serving.

The White House said retaining troops with a history or diagnosis of "gender dysphoria" — those who may require substantial medical treatment — "presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality."

Trump surprised the Pentagon's leadership in a 2017 tweet when he declared he would reverse an Obama-era plan to allow transgender individuals to serve openly.

His push for the ban has been blocked by several legal challenges, and three federal courts have ruled against the ban.

The Pentagon responded by allowing those serving to stay in the military, and began allowing transgender individuals to enlist beginning Jan. 1.

"This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards — including those regarding the use of medical drugs — equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday.

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