The Defense Department is expected to deliver 10,000 M-16 rifles, 10,000 M-68 close-combat optical red-dot sights, and 23,000 magazines to the Iraqi government this week under a $17.9 million foreign military sale intended to help the Iraqis combat ISIS terrorists, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren on Tuesday. The US also delivered 232 Hellfire missiles on Feb. 15, as well as 250 mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles and thousands of Kevlar helmets and body armor last month as part of the sales agreement. “It was an expedited delivery, which took 22 days from the time of signature, a letter of authorization, until delivery,” said Warren. “This is less than a quarter of the time it normally takes to execute these types of deliveries.” The Defense Department also is expected to ship 200 Harris vehicle-mounted radios in the next month to equip the previously shipped MRAPS, added Warren. An Iraqi-led military force is mounting a massive campaign to retake Mosul this spring, a US Central Command official told reporters on background last week. The same official noted the US-led air campaign has successfully degraded ISIS’ military capability, noting that it will still take time to defeat the brutal terrorist organization. (Pentagon release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.