The Pentagon said Wednesday it will send about 3,500 troops to Kuwait to serve as a standby force for use in Iraq or elsewhere in the region.
The Bush administration is weighing force increases as it considers alternative strategies in Iraq.
The deployment order was sent to a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
That unit will serve as the “call-forward force” for the commander of U.S. Central Command, the command group responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Central Command also holds responsibility for the part of Africa that includes Somalia and Ethiopia, where a week of fighting has spiraled into open war.
The Fort Bragg troops replace a force that was moved into Iraq this year. There are 134,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq.