President Donald Trump has reportedly given Secretary of Defense James Mattis the authority to determine troop levels for the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
"At the request of Secretary of Defense Mattis, the president has delegated force management authority to the secretary," Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN.
The change was first reported by BuzzFeed News.
Under the Obama administration, troop levels were set by the White House, and staff were deeply involved in setting its limits compared to previous administrations, CNN reported.
The Pentagon characterized the change as a return to previous practice.
"The Secretary of Defense has historically maintained force management authority during contingency operations," Rankine-Galloway said.
"This is not new. This restores that authority and is a more effective way of managing combat power."
The troop levels for Syria are currently 503, but the number of troops on the ground is closer to 1,000, CNN reported. In Iraq, the "real number" of troops ia bout 7,000, CNN reported.
The change does not effect the current deployment numbers, nor does it "portend a change in our mission in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIS," Rankine-Galloway told CNN.
"Our strategy remains to work by, with, and through local forces and to conduct all operations in Iraq with the approval of the government of Iraq," he told the outlet.
Rankine-Galloway told CNN the change will let "military commanders to become more agile, adaptive, and efficient in supporting our partners."
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