President Obama could send up to 300 "military advisers" to Iraq in the coming days to assist that country's government as it strives to stave off the advance of a Sunni militant group. Most of the advisers will be special forces.
A senior U.S. official said the first of several small teams — roughly one dozen each — will begin their mission "very soon."
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These are the troops already on the ground or in the region supporting Iraq:
- About 170 U.S. military personnel are in Iraq for security at the embassy; this includes a Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team platoon, elements of the Marine Crisis Response Task Force and other Special Forces troops.
- Around 100 airfield management and security forces are in the region now but haven't been called into Iraq yet.
- Between 250 and 300 U.S. military were already on the ground in Iraq prior to ISIS's latest advance. They were assigned to embassy security duties (Marine Security Guards) and the OSCI (Office of Security Cooperation—Iraq).
Obama: U.S. Prepared to Take 'Targeted' Action in Iraq
Strange Bedfellows: Will Iraq's Militants Stick Together?
A Look at the U.S. Presence in Iraq (The Washington Post)
— Courtney Kube and Kristen Welker