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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered an untold number of military personnel to prepare to deploy to the Middle East on Saturday due to recent escalations by Iran.
“I have placed an additional number of forces on prepare to deploy orders as part of prudent contingency planning, to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required,” Austin said in a prepared statement.
The Pentagon has already placed some 2,000 troops on a heightened state of readiness in case they need to deploy to the region. Austin did not say how many troops were being called up.
Austin also announced that he has activated the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery as well as additional Patriot battalions across the region to protect U.S. forces.
THAAD is a highly effective, combat-proven defense against short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.
Following is the full statement released by the Pentagon:
Following detailed discussions with President Biden on recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region, today I directed a series of additional steps to further strengthen the Department of Defense posture in the region. These steps will bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for U.S. forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel.
First, I redirected the movement of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to the Central Command area of responsibility. This carrier strike group is in addition to the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which is currently operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It will further increase our force posture and strengthen our capabilities and ability to respond to a range of contingencies.
I have also activated the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions to locations throughout the region to increase force protection for U.S. forces.
Finally, I have placed an additional number of forces on prepare to deploy orders as part of prudent contingency planning, to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required.
I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary.Pentagon
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