Flight deck personnel stand on the flight deck on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as it patrols the Arabian Gulf during a Strait of Hormuz transit February 14, 2012. (Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. defense official has presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump's administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the Times said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump's top security aides on Thursday.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Pentagon declined to comment.

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Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speak to the media at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved the transfer of $1.5 billion to build more than 80 miles (130 km)of barriers on the border with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Friday, including taking about $600 million from an account meant for Afghan security forces.

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President Trump is nominating Patrick Shanahan to be the official Secretary of Defense, after months of his filling the role as the acting secretary.

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If you are worried that the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a cadre of bombers to the U.S. Central Command theater is a major military escalation that could spark a war with Iran, take several deep, cleansing breaths.

The strike group originally left Norfolk, Virginia, in April as part of a regularly scheduled deployment, during which the Lincoln will literally sail around the world to arrive at its new homeport in San Diego — and while the carrier had been scheduled to transit the CENTCOM area of responsibility, its arrival there has simply been accelerated "in order to defend American forces and interests in the region," a defense official told Task & Purpose on Monday.

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The Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General on Thursday cleared former Boeing executive and current acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan of allegations that he unethically favored Boeing in an official capacity as head of the Defense Department — and the only thing he's guilty of is criticizing the F-35 program for being an expensive disaster.

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Acting SecDef Patrick Shanahan. Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/DoD

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has gotten the green light and has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Pentagon's Inspector General, which was investigating him for alleged inappropriate favoritism of Boeing — his former place of employment for over 30 years.

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