Esper: Report of Potential Middle East Deployment “Flat Out Wrong”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper rebutted a recent Wall Street Journal report that the US is contemplating sending 14,000 more troops to the Middle East in a series of tweets Dec. 6, calling the idea “flat out wrong.”

“DOD will always stand ready to respond to future actions by our adversaries if and when they arise, but the Pentagon is not considering sending 14,000 troops to [US Central Command],” he wrote. “This report is false.”

He did not publicly rule out the possibility of sending a different number of additional troops.

At a Dec. 5 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, John Rood, the Defense Department’s under secretary for policy, left the door open for a potential personnel boost to counter Iran. He told lawmakers that “based on … concerns about the threat picture, it is possible that we would have to adjust our force posture.” 

“I think that would be a prudent step,” Rood said.

Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said on Twitter Dec. 5 that the department constantly rethinks its posture as it considers changing threats around the world.