Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump’s national security aides that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported on Monday citing unnamed administration officials.
Among those attending the Thursday meeting were Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, according to the report. It is unclear whether President Trump has been briefed on the number of troops or other details in the plans, the Times added.
The proposed deployment of 120,000 troops would be nearly equal to the amount of US troops that invaded Iraq in 2003. However, the officials told the Times that the plan does not call for a land invasion of Iran.
The Pentagon’s plans was reviewed during a meeting about broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.
As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, a Patriot missile interceptor battery and more naval firepower to the Gulf region.