At the direction of the president, the U.S. military augmented its security assistance by up to approximately 200 personnel to reinforce security at the U.S. embassy, its support facilities, and Baghdad International Airport. The president authorized this augmentation as a prudent measure to protect U.S. citizens and property.
These additional personnel arrived in Iraq Sunday and today from locations within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Capabilities provided include a detachment of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, which will bolster airfield and travel route security. Similar to the U.S. security personnel who arrived in Baghdad earlier this month to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, they will integrate with existing U.S. embassy security teams.
The presence of these additional forces will help enable the embassy to continue its critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraq on challenges they are facing as they confront Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
In addition, the approximately 100 personnel already prepositioned in the Central Command region -- previously announced by the Defense Department in mid-June -- will also move forward to Baghdad to provide security and logistics support.
These forces are separate and apart from the up to 300 personnel the president authorized to establish two joint operations centers and conduct an assessment of how the U.S. can provide additional support to Iraq's security forces as they confront the grave threat posed by ISIL.