President Barack Obama has authorized a State Department request for additional troops in Iraq.
Obama ordered approximately 350 additional military personnel be sent to Iraq "to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad," according to a Tuesday statement from the office of the White House press secretary. The statement notes that the troops will not be serving in a combat role upon arrival.
The Defense Department confirmed that 405 troops will be deployed to Iraq, allowing for 55 military personnel who have been in Iraq since June to redeploy outside of the country and resulting in a net increase of 350 troops on the ground.
"This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President's commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," according to the White House statement.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor will soon travel to Iraq "to build a stronger regional partnership," the statement says.
Earlier Tuesday, the militant Islamic State group released a video it claims depicts the beheading of captured American journalist Steven Sotloff. The video was the second of its kind in only two weeks' time: a video released in August depicted the execution of James Foley, another American journalist, at the hand of ISIS.
Read the full statement on the troop deployment below:
Today, the President authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President's commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.
The President has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world. The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad.
In addition to our efforts to protect our personnel, we will continue to support the Government of Iraq's efforts to counter ISIL, which poses a threat not only to Iraq, but to the broader Middle East and U.S. personnel and interests in the region. The President will be consulting this week with NATO allies regarding additional actions to take against ISIL and to develop a broad-based international coalition to implement a comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners in the fight against ISIL. As part of this effort, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, will be traveling separately to the region in the near-term to build a stronger regional partnership.