Release
Immediate Release

Statement by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Force Levels in Iraq

Jan. 15, 2021

“Today, the United States has reduced the force levels in Iraq to 2,500 as directed by President Trump, and as I announced on November 17, 2020. The drawdown of U.S. force levels in Iraq is reflective of the increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces. We have long anticipated that the force level required to support Iraq’s fight against ISIS would decrease as Iraq’s capability to manage the threat from ISIS improves. Our ability to reduce force levels is evidence of real progress.

This force reduction is consistent with Operation Inherent Resolve’s (OIR) transition from major combat operations and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy. U.S. and Coalition forces remain in Iraq to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS. The Government of Iraq and the U.S. Government agree that ISIS remains a threat and that a U.S. and Coalition presence remains vital. We will continue to have a counterterrorism platform in Iraq to support partner forces with airpower and intelligence. Most operations in Iraq were already being conducted by our Iraqi partners, enabled by U.S. and Coalition forces. We can continue to provide this support to our Iraqi partners at the reduced U.S. force level.

The Iraqi people desire a secure, stable, and prosperous Iraq, able to defend itself against violent extremist groups and against those who would undermine Iraq’s security. We are committed to supporting our Iraqi partners in their efforts to achieve those objectives.”