Pentagon ‘Denies’ Plans to Send 14,000 More Troops to Area Around Iran

Navy confirms US could send another aircraft carrier as part of surge

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump Administration is considering sending 14,000 US troops to the Middle East, in areas around Iran. On Thursday, the Pentagon “denied” this, saying the reporting was wrong.

The denial isn’t necessarily particularly binding, since the consideration would’ve been at the White House level, not the Pentagon level. The Pentagon has often made policy proclamations that don’t pan out when the administration makes decisions.

In all likelihood, a series of options are being considered, with all reports pointing to the US again escalating its presence. Sending another 14,000 troops is likely on the extreme end of possibilities, but there appears to be no denying that another buildup is in the offing.

The Navy is already talking about the possibility of sending a second aircraft carrier to the region, if so ordered, with Admiral Mike Gilday saying the US could “absolutely” do this as part of the maximum pressure campaign on Iran.

Undersecretary of Defense John Rood also appeared to undermine the Pentagon’s denial in his address to the Senate, as they pressed him on the 14,000 troops, and asked if this was under consideration. Though Rood tried to duck the question by going off on a tangent about what a threat Iran was, he ultimately conceded that the consideration is underway.

When pressed on a discrepancy between this and Pentagon denials, Rood would only say that Defense Secretary Mark Esper hadn’t made any specific decision to send 14,000 more troops, which was never what the article claimed. Rood did, however, say that Esper has told him a change to US “force posture” in the area around Iran is coming.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.