Pentagon Announces U.S. Will Send Troops, Fighter Jets to Saudi Arabia

The Pentagon announced on Friday that the U.S. would be sending troops, fighter jets, and missile defense weaponry to Saudi Arabia in an effort to help boost the kingdom's defenses following an attack on its oil facilities back in September.

According to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the U.S. will deploy 1,800 additional service members, two fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing, two Patriot Missile batteries and one THAAD missile defense system. In total, the number of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia will number around 3,000.

"Secretary Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman this morning of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia," Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said in a statement Friday. "Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month."

The U.S. has increased the deployment of forces in the region by 14,000 since May of this year.

"Saudi Arabia is a longstanding security partner in the Middle East and has asked for additional support to supplement their own defenses and defend the international rules based order," said Esper. "In response to Iranian provocation since May, the U.S. has deployed an array of additional capabilities to the region."

The USS Harry S. Truman was scheduled to deploy to the region, but it was delayed after issues with its electrical distribution system. The current carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln is scheduled to end its deployment over the next several days. That's led to U.S. officials to use the additional deployment in an attempt to replace what a carrier airwing can provide.