By Pearl Matibe in Washington DC
In response to the escalating Hamas-Israel war, the U.S. Department of Defense is taking what it describes as decisive action.
As the Hamas-Israel conflict intensifies, the U.S. Department of Defense has made significant changes to its military force posture in the Middle East. A senior U.S. defense official, describing the situation as “ISIS-level savagery,” affirmed unwavering U.S. support for Israel.
On Monday, October 9, the Pentagon outlined its strategy, focusing on two key areas: expeditious response to Israel’s security requests and posture adjustments. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III ordered the deployment of additional U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft, including F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10, to squadrons in the region.
“We’re also making it abundantly clear to potential adversaries that they should think twice before escalating this conflict,” emphasized a senior U.S. Department of Defense official.
In addition to the fighter aircraft, the U.S. has deployed the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean, reinforcing its position in the region. This formidable force, including an aircraft carrier, cruisers, and destroyers, will conduct maritime and air operations to bolster regional stability.
While Iran’s role is being scrutinized, there is no concrete evidence of its direct involvement in recent events. However, the U.S. has long expressed concerns about Iran’s support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, emphasizing their role in fostering instability and inciting violence in the region.
President Joseph Biden confirmed that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has been actively engaging with allies in the Middle East and Europe, emphasizing U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense and assessing Israel’s operational needs.
The United States is significantly increasing assistance to Israel, including air defense capabilities and munitions. Continuous communication with Israeli counterparts is a top priority, with a focus on promptly meeting urgent requirements. Efforts are underway to expedite the delivery of military equipment already in the pipeline, in collaboration with U.S. industry partners.
Regarding the White House’s role in responding to such incidents, John Kirby, White House National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications, stated, “This President will do what he has to do to look after our national security interests.” He emphasized the recent deployment of a carrier strike group into the Eastern Mediterranean as a measure of reassurance and deterrence.
Meanwhile, a joint statement by leaders from France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States expressed unwavering support for Israel and condemned Hamas for its acts of terrorism.
President Biden is expected to deliver remarks on the situation in Israel from the White House State Dining Room on Tuesday, October 10.
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on U.S. foreign policy, and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe