Acknowledging that the “world is exploding all over,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a surprise visit to Camp Pendleton on Tuesday and announced that additional military advisers will be sent to Iraq.
The Pentagon will be sending 130 more advisers, Hagel said, though he stressed this is not a slow escalation of force, or “mission creep.”
“There will be no boots on the ground,” he said.
The additional advisers will bring to 380 the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to assess the danger posed by the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and coordinate air strikes.
In a town hall meeting for Pendleton Marines, Hagel said the United States will continue its pivot of military resources to the Pacific, despite new conflicts in the Mideast and Ukraine.
“The world is exploding all over. And so, is the United States going to continue to have the resources, the capabilities, the leadership, the bandwidth to continue with the rebalance toward the Asia Pacific? And the answer is yes,” he said.
Hagel’s visit to Pendleton came at the end of a round-the-world trip that has taken him to Germany, India and Australia.