The Pentagon is sending an additional 300 U.S. troops to the U.S. Central Command region, which includes the Middle East, announced Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder:
“These additional troops will provide capabilities and explosive ordnance disposal, communications and other support enablers for forces already in the region. ... We will not discuss specific deployment locations for these forces, but I can confirm they are not going to Israel and that they are intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster U.S. force protection capabilities.”
Brig. Gen. Ryder noted the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which began October 7 with the “horrific slaughter of Israeli civilians,” has resulted in broader tensions in the region. That is why the U.S. has deployed “additional capabilities ... to provide us with the options necessary to respond to a wide variety of contingencies.”
Brig. General Ryder said, “Those forces are really there for two things: one to deter any escalation of a broader regional conflict, which no one wants to see; and then two, to ensure that we have the forces and capabilities in the theater to protect our forces that are doing other important national security work, like the Defeat ISIS mission, like keeping the lanes of shipping open and working with regional partners on air defense and things like that.”
There has been an uptick in recent weeks of attacks by Iran-backed militants targeting U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, whose mission is the enduring defeat of ISIS. The U.S. responded with precision airstrikes in Syria on facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups.
The attacks by the Iran-backed forces did not stop the work of the counter-ISIS mission: On October 29, U.S. Central Command noted on X that since October 7, Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners conducted 15 missions against ISIS resulting in two operatives killed, and 27 detained.
Brig. Gen. Ryder emphasized that the U.S. precision strikes are separate and distinct from the Israel-Hamas conflict. The goal of the strikes is two-fold: deterrence against an escalation into a broader regional conflict, and protection of U.S. forces.
Brig. Gen. Ryder had a clear message: “We will continue to do whatever we need to do to protect our troops.”