Statement from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Steps to Increase Force Posture across the Middle East Region
For Immediate Release, Arlington VA, 22:15 EDT 21 October 2023: Following detailed discussions with President Biden on recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region, today I directed a series of additional steps to further strengthen the Department of Defense posture in the region. These steps will bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for US forces in the region, and assist in the defence of Israel.
First, I redirected the movement of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to the Central Command area of responsibility. This carrier strike group is in addition to the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which is currently operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It will further increase our force posture and strengthen our capabilities and ability to respond to a range of contingencies.
I have also activated the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions to locations throughout the region to increase force protection for US forces.
Finally, I have placed an additional number of forces on prepare to deploy orders as part of prudent contingency planning, to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required.
I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary.