Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
Meanwhile, the Navy has several ships in the region including the destroyers USS Mason, USS McFaul, USS Bainbridge, and USS Nitze; the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf; the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge; and the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry.
"The most important thing we can do as the department is avoid miscalculation, and then control escalation," Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday. "Our posture is for deterrence. I just hope Iran is listening. We're in the region to address many things, but it is not to go to a war with Iran."
But some Democratic lawmakers have voiced concern that the United States may be headed toward a war with Iran.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) told Task & Purpose after being briefed by Shanahan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday that he was even more concerned that the Trump administration was looking for an excuse to get into a fight with Iran.
"Everything I have said to date about how concerned I am with this administration's push toward war – the fact that there are certain people in the administration who are pushing for regime change in Iran – was reinforced by this briefing," said Moulton, who is trying to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president in the 2020 election.
UPDATE: This story was updated on May 22 with the number of troops that may be deployed to the Middle East.
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The two oil tankers crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran are being assessed off the coast off the United Arab Emirates before their cargos are unloaded, the ships' operators said on Sunday.