WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement in response to the Department of the Defense decision to deploy additional personnel and assets to the Central Command area of responsibility. 

“Today’s decision by the Department of Defense to increase its presence in the Middle East is unsettling.  While requests from CENTCOM should always be taken seriously, our posture in the region should be scrutinized if it does not fit into a broader strategy.  Without a clearly articulated strategy, adding more personnel and mission systems seems unwise, and appears to be a blatant and heavy-handed move to further escalate tensions with Iran.

“Leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for de-escalation.  At first blush, this move does not fit the bill. I look forward to hearing from Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan how this decision complements a broader strategy in the region, which focuses on de-escalation and diplomacy first.”