WASHINGTON — President Trump is considering deploying additional troops to the Middle East to provide protection for American military personnel already there, the acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, said Thursday.
Mr. Shanahan did not specify how many troops were under consideration.
Mr. Shanahan and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are scheduled to brief administration officials on military options to protect American troops stationed in the Mideast amid increasing tensions with Iran.
An American official said on Wednesday that the Pentagon planned to present an option for deploying up to 20,000 troops to the region. But some Defense Department officials viewed such a move as potentially running counter to protecting the troops already there, as it could give adversaries in the region even more of a target.
“What we’re looking at is: Are there things that we can do to enhance force protection in the Middle East?” Mr. Shanahan said. “It may involve sending additional troops.”