At the time Pentagon officials stressed that the teams would provide useful intelligence to help determine whether U.S. military advisors should be sent to work with the Iraqi military. The assessments were completed weeks ago, but a decision on whether to proceed to that step has yet to be made by the White House.
The new deployment to Erbil will raise to 935 the number of U.S. military personnel now in Iraq, including 100 who were already in Iraq serving at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Hagel described the new team in Erbil as not going beyond the parameters President Obama has laid out for the earlier teams sent to Baghdad. He said the assessment team was “not a combat boots on the ground operation. As the president has made very clear, we are not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat missions dimensions that we once were in in Iraq.”