The U.S. is increasing its naval and military presence in the Middle East in response to Iran’s attempts to seize commercial vessels. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved the deployment of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, composed of three warships, and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is about 2,500 Marines.
- The deployment aims to increase flexibility and maritime capability in the region, following Iran’s attempts to seize oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.
- The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, comprised of the Bataan, the amphibious transport dock Mesa Verde, and the dock landing ship Carter Hall, is included in the deployment.
- This deployment follows recent decisions to send the USS Thomas Hudner, a destroyer, and various fighter jets to the region in response to Iranian activities.
- The additional forces are expected to assist in safeguarding the free flow of international commerce, upholding international order, and deterring Iranian destabilizing activities.
- It remains unclear if all three warships from the readiness group will continue into the Gulf region.