U.S. Army Spc. Preston Seach, assigned to the East Africa Response Force (EARF), Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, participates in an emergency deployment response exercise, East Africa, May 17, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Chris Hibben)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that U.S. strategic goals could include drawing down troops in Africa despite French pleas that American support is "critical" to countering the growing strength of terror groups in the region with links to the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

"My aim is to adjust our footprint in many places," including Africa, to free up forces for a "great power competition" against China and Russia, he said at a joint Pentagon news conference with French Defense Minister Florence Parly.

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An MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to the Dragon Whales of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, places cargo on the flight deck of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD5), during a vertical replenishment between Bataan and the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), Dec. 31, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Macdonald)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. already has overwhelming force in the Middle East to deal with any threat from Iran, as it has built up air, ground and naval assets steadily since last May, as well as recent preparations for a possible conflict.

By contrast, Iran has relied on "asymmetric" rather than conventional warfare by its own forces and proxies. But it possesses advanced missile and drone capabilities, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

After the U.S. executed a deadly strike on Iranian Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani Jan. 3, and Iran retaliated Jan. 7 by launching missiles at two bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, predictions are flying about what a possible conflict would look like.

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The 3d US Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) Caisson Platoon participate in the full honors funeral of U.S. Marine Corps Col. Wesley Fox in Section 55 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, April 17, 2018. (U.S. Army/Elizabeth Fraser)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Medal of Honor recipients and prisoners of war are entitled to burial with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery, regardless of rank, under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.

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The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola is seen on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. March 16, 2016. Picture taken March 16, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Patrick Nichols/Handout via Reuters)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Navy pledged Friday to find ways to upgrade security procedures and prevent future attacks following two shootings and a fatal gate runner incident at naval bases in Virginia, Hawaii and Florida in the last week.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also announced he is "considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families," although he did not give details.

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A Phase 1 early concept for the National Desert Storm Memorial. The approved design will be unveiled in December 2019 (Architect's rendering)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The effort to build a National Desert Storm Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., passed a significant milestone last week with formal approval of a design concept granted by the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.

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U.S. Army Rangers resting in the vicinity of Pointe du Hoc, which they assaulted in support of "Omaha" Beach landings on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. (Public domain)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."

Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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