In a statement, the Pentagon said Obama had made the decision "at the request of the Iraqi Government."
"This mission will be undertaken in coordination with multiple coalition partners and will be funded through the request for an Iraq Train and Equip fund that the Administration will submit to Congress," the statement added.
The White House stressed that the troops would function "in a non-combat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces."
This would almost double the amount of troops in Iraq, bringing the total number of U.S. forces to about 3,100.
"Over the coming weeks, as we finalize the training site locations, the United States will work with coalition members to determine how many U.S. and coalition personnel will be required at each location for the training effort," the Pentagon said.
A senior administration official told ABC News there is “no ceiling” on the number of U.S. troops who could potentially be sent back to Iraq. But the White House insists that what matters more is that the strict mission still holds -- only to advise, train and assist Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, not to participate in combat.
Officials cited a need for “geographic flexibility” in the train and assist mission -– more troops, they say, gives the U.S. a “broader base” and “greater reach in different parts of the country.”
“It speaks to how to cover the broadest possible ground and provide advice, counsel and intelligence support,” the official said.
The Associated Press reported that the announcement is part of a $5.6 billion funding request to Congress and came just after Obama met with congressional leaders earlier today.
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