The U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized the deployment of additional U.S. forces and equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the request of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM).
The equipment that will be deployed include:
+ Two Fighter Squadrons
+ One Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW)
+ Two Batteries of Patriot Air Defense System
+ One Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD)
Secretary Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman on Oct. 11 of the additional troop deployment “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia”, according to the Pentagon statement announcing the decision.
Taken together with other deployments this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month.
“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”, added the Pentagon statement.
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.
Last month, the U.S. announced that it would deploy one Patriot Battery, four Sentinel radars along with approximately 200 support personnel to Saudi Arabia after the drone attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure. It was also announced at that time that the Secretary has also approved putting additional forces and equipment on Prepare To Deploy Orders (PTDO) including two Patriot batteries and one THAAD system.