President Barack Obama approved a net increase of about 350 additional military personnel on the ground in Baghdad providing security at the U.S. Embassy compound and its support facilities, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said last night.
“This builds upon previous embassy security deployments announced on June 15 and June 30 and will bring the total forces responsible for augmenting diplomatic security in Iraq up to approximately 820,” Kirby said in a statement.
The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command area of operations, the admiral said, and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters and an air liaison team.
In all, 405 U.S. military personnel will be sent to Baghdad to provide a more robust and sustainable security presence to help the State Department, he added.
With this order, 55 personnel who have been in Baghdad since June will redeploy outside of Iraq and will remain postured to deal with other security contingencies in the region, if necessary, Kirby said.
The Defense Department will continue to plan and prepare further military options should they become necessary, the press secretary said, “and we will remain ready to protect our diplomats, our citizens and our interests in Iraq while we continue to work with the Iraqi government to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”