WATCH ABOVE: The new deployment nearly doubles the total number of American troops in the region. The White House says they will only be there to train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces but as Jennifer Johnson reports, some believe it’s a slippery slope.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is authorizing the U.S. military to deploy up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq as part of the mission to combat the Islamic State group.
Obama is also asking Congress for more than $5 billion to help fund the fight.
The White House says the troops won’t serve in a combat role, but will train, advise and assist Iraqi military and Kurdish forces fighting IS.
WATCH: Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the program will train nine Iraqi and three Kurdish brigades, which is roughly 54,000 soldiers.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Obama has also authorized the additional personnel to operate at Iraqi military facilities outside Baghdad and Erbil. Until now, U.S. troops have been operating a joint operation centre setup with Iraqi forces there.
The announcement is part of a $5.6 billion funding request to Congress and came just after Obama met with congressional leaders Friday.