- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2020

Following Iran’s Jan. 8 attack on Iraqi bases housing large contingents of U.S. personnel, Department of Defense officials want to employ systems such as the Patriot missile to protect them in the future.

At a Pentagon briefing on Thursday, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said Iraq’s government will have to sign on, however.

“We want to make sure we have permission of the host government. That’s one of the matters we have to work through,” Mr. Esper said.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed the secretary’s plan to bring in Patriot missile units.

“That’s what they’re designed to do — shoot down incoming theater ballistic missiles,” he said.

In addition to the short-term plans such as employing a finite resource like a Patriot missile battalion, the military is looking at possibly redesigning helmets to better protect U.S. troops from the concussive shock wave that can often play a role in traumatic brain injuries.

“The military is a leader in this issue. It’s something we have to continue to work on,” Mr. Esper said.

Pentagon officials expect to release updated numbers later Thursday of U.S. troops who sustained brain injuries from the Iranian missile attack. On Tuesday, they raised the number to 50.

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