FORT STEWART, Ga. — A force of approximately 25,000 advisers from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Adviser Division is heading to Iraq to not participate in direct ground combat of any kind, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
“Make no mistake, we are in full-on advisement against ISIL in the same way we continue to advise countries against al Qaeda and its affiliates,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said at a press conference, using an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
While noting the division was comprised mostly of combat troops from its former unit name of 3rd Infantry Division, Kirby cautioned that using this re-structured unit would not lead to advisement-creep.
“It’s made up of three Brigade Advisor Teams (BAT). Among these are a mixture of various adviser types including Infantry Advisers, Armor Advisers, Artillery Advisers and Attack Aviation Advisers,” Kirby said.
Sources confirmed the new unit was formed after Pentagon leaders realized direct ground combat and trying to impose U.S. will on the enemy had negative effects, and it was better to advise them into submission.
“Geneva conventions do not specifically limit any type of advice, allowing the new 3rd Adviser Division to utilize the Vietnam-era M2 Advice-throwers,” Kirby said, also noting the deployment of the M1A1 Armored Humanitarian Relief Vehicle and the F-16 Fighting Advisory Falcon.
Although the Pentagon officially declined to give much detail as to what types of advice would be used, sources told Duffel Blog the troops will be authorized to engage with 5.56mm and 7.62mm advice whenever necessary. In some instances and with higher authority, the division could use 105mm and 155mm advice, along with 500lb Joint Direct Advice Munitions.