Washington, D.C.— Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Democratic Whip and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and U.S. Army General Mark Milley, requesting that Congress be provided with regular briefings and documents detailing the number of troops the administration has deployed and plans to deploy in support of contingency plans with respect to Iran. The Senators’ letter comes amid the reported deployment of at least 4,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force and an unknown number of soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment.
The Senators emphasize that while they recognize the need for operational security, it is paramount that the administration be transparent with the American people about how many troops this Administration plans to deploy and has deployed. The Senators request regular briefings and documents detailing the military units and members of the Armed Forces supporting these contingency plans, with an initial response no later than January 10th.
In light of President Trump’s recent comments that he may pursue retribution against Iran by ordering the military to target Iranian cultural sites, Senators Schumer, Durbin, and Reed also called on Secretary Esper and General Milley to underscore throughout the entire U.S. military chain of command that international law prohibits the deliberate targeting of cultural sites and such orders should not be followed.
Senate Democrats’ Letter to Secretary Esper and General Milley can be found here