US Confirms 450 New Troops for Iraq

The additional site will result in an increase in DoD force levels to up to 3,550 personnel, officials said.

Warren told reporters that advise-and-assist operations will begin in the next two months, and that of the roughly 450 personnel heading to Taqaddum, some already are in Iraq and will simply be repositioned, while others will come from outside of Iraq.

Not Another Building Partner Capacity Site

For the time being, Warren emphasized, Taqaddum Air Base will not be used as another Building Partner Capacity site.

“What’s important to note,” he said, “is these personnel that we’re sending into al-Taqaddum are not establishing what we are a little more familiar with, and what we’ve seen in Besmayah, in al-Asad, in Irbil, which are these Building Partner Capacity training sites.”

Those sites essentially are basic training, Warren explained, where U.S. advisors teach Iraqi soldiers basic combat tasks, such as weapons qualification.

At Taqaddum Air Base, the colonel said, advisors will work with the 8th Iraqi Army Division, advising them on matters such as deploying their troops, improving their logistic systems, increasing their intelligence capabilities and managing their administrative processes.

Path to Defeat ISIL

Ultimately, DoD officials said, these Iraqi forces will enable Iraq to better defend its citizens and retake its territory from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

This effort is in keeping with the U.S. overarching strategy to work with partners on the ground to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, officials said.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

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