President Obama signed off Friday on deploying an additional 1,500 U.S. troops to Iraq to train local forces there.
The soldiers would be "in a non-combat role, to expand our advise and assist mission and initiate a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
The announcement will double the total number of U.S. troops involved in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group to almost 3,000. More than 1,400 American troops are already stationed in Iraq.
The administration will also request additional $5.6 billion for the U.S. mission against ISIS. That request will likely be part of the overseas contingency operations budget—otherwise known as its war budget, which isn't subject to budget caps.The additional funding will bring the administration's total war budget request for fiscal year 2015 to approximately $64.2 billion.
Kirby said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the recommendation for the additional forces after receiving assessments from U.S. advisers in Iraq. The soldiers will help set up two advise-and-assist operations centers, and set up locations across the country that can be used to train 12 Iraq brigades, including three brigades of Kurdish peshmerga fighters.
A Pentagon press conference is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday, marking a very late election-week news dump. We'll update with more information then.