WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement in response to the Pentagon’s decision to deploy approximately 1,000 additional troops to the Central Command area of responsibility:

“The decision to increase our military presence in the Middle East is deeply concerning.  Members on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly called for a concerted de-escalation plan in the region. As I have said before, without a cohesive strategy, this Administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign will continue to ratchet up tensions with Iran, increasing the likelihood of miscalculation on either side, and clearing a path for an unwanted all-out armed conflict.

“It is past time for the Administration to clearly articulate the desired outcomes for the current actions in the region.  Our economic sanctions have not yet forced Iran to change their behavior in a positive direction.  As the current regime continues to pursue their nuclear ambitions and support terrorist groups in the region, we must reopen diplomatic lines of communication.  Direct military force must be used only as a last resort, and not without the consultation of Congress.”