DOD sending THAAD, additional troops to Saudi Arabia

By Tony Bertuca  
October 11, 2019 at 12:03 PM

The United States plans to deploy additional forces to Saudi Arabia to deter Iran, including one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, two Patriot missile batteries, one Air Expeditionary Wing and two fighter squadrons, according to a Pentagon statement.

"Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month," Pentagon Chief Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman of the deployments this morning.

"Since May, the Department of Defense has increased the number of forces by approximately 14,000 to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as an investment into regional security," Hoffman said. "As we have stated, the United States does not seek conflict with the Iranian regime, but we will retain a robust military capability in the region that is ready to respond to any crisis and will defend U.S. forces and interest in the region."

The commitment of additional military resources to Saudi Arabia comes as President Trump is taking bipartisan criticism for withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria, clearing the way for a Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces that helped defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.