[Ed. – As usual, the media are reporting this as “deploying troops,” which always sounds as if it’s about sending infantry. It’s not. We’re beefing up Saudi Arabia’s missile and air defenses, with the number of uniformed service members in the hundreds; comporting, in other words, with the operating contingent for Patriot and other missile/air defense weapon systems.]
Saudi Arabia had requested international help to help protect the country’s infrastructure following the Sept. 14 attacks by Iranian drones and cruise missiles, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Pentagon news briefing. The United Arab Emirates has also required help.
“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature, and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Esper said. “We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.”
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would not say how many service members are headed to Saudi Arabia, but he characterized the deployment as involving a “moderate” number of troops. He told a reporter it would be “fair to say” it wouldn’t be in the thousands.