Wednesday, June 10, 2015
President Obama authorizes deployment of up to 450 more American troops to Iraq
“In furtherance of his comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy the ISIL terrorist group, President Obama has approved additional actions to enhance the implementation of the counter-ISIL campaign.
"To improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the President authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province. The President made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and upon the recommendation of Secretary Carter and Chairman Dempsey, and with the unanimous support of his national security team.
"These new advisors will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the Prime Minister. This effort will complement the efforts of U.S. and coalition trainers at the four previously-established training sites in Al-Asad, Besmaya, Erbil, and Taji, where over 9,000 Iraqi troops have already been trained, with an additional 3,000 currently in training. These additional U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role and will augment the 3,100 U.S. troops who have already deployed to Iraq.
"This train, advise, and assist mission builds on lessons learned during the past several months and is just one aspect of our commitment to support the Iraqi Security Forces. Toward this end, the President has also directed the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel in coordination with the central government to Iraqi forces, including Peshmerga and tribal fighters, operating under Iraqi command, to ensure that our partners have the equipment needed to effectively fight ISIL," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
“The Commander in Chief has authorized Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to deploy to Iraq up to 450 additional U.S. personnel in a non-combat role, to expand our advise and assist mission at Taqaddum Air Base in support of the Government of Iraq.
"The intent of this increase will be to provide personnel to assist with planning, integration and support of Iraqi Security Forces and tribal forces as they fight to retake the Ramadi and Fallujah corridor. U.S. forces will provide operational advice and planning support the Iraqi Security Forces, to include the 8th Iraqi Army Division and other security forces associated with the Government of Iraq. This mission will also enable tribal outreach as part of the plan Prime Minister Al-Abadi led the Council of Ministers in passing on May 19 to accelerate the training and equipping of local tribes in coordination with Anbar authorities.
"This decision does not represent a change in mission, but rather adds another location for DoD to conduct similar activities in more areas in Iraq. U.S. forces continue to perform an advisory, training, and support role and are not conducting offensive ground combat operations. The additional site will result in an increase in DoD force levels to up to 3,550 personnel.
"Ultimately, these Iraqi forces will enable Iraq to better defend its citizens and retake its territory from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This effort is in keeping with our overarching strategy to work with partners on the ground to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL," the Pentagon said in a press release.