Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday that the United States will deploy a specialized expeditionary force to support the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq.
Reuters first reported Carter’s comments about the "specialized expeditionary targeting force" that will help in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS), which he made during a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning.
"These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders," Carter stated at the House Armed Services Committee hearing, according to The Hill.
"That creates a virtuous cycle of better intelligence, which generates more targets, more raids, and more momentum."
Carter also said that the United States is "prepared to expand" its special operations forces in Syria, according to AFP.
At the end of October, the White House announced that it was sending a small number of U.S. special operations forces into Syria to help bolster the so-called "Syrian Democratic Forces" made up largely of Kurdish fighters and allied troops fighting the Islamic State. The count of special forces troops sent to Syria was less than 50.
Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, USA Today reported that a top Defense official said Monday the Pentagon would consider sending more special operations troops to Syria if its program there shows success.