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Defense Secretary: U.S. Speeding Up Training of Iraqi Forces Fighting Islamic State

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The U.S. expects to train nine Iraqi security forces brigades and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to members of 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (Image source: AP/Robert Burns)

FORT IRWIN, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. military is accelerating its efforts to train and advise Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to members of 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (Image source: AP/Robert Burns) U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to members of 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (Image source: AP/Robert Burns)

U.S. special operations troops in Iraq's western Anbar province are getting an early start on the train-and-advise effort which began a few days ago, Hagel said. He did not provide details.

The Pentagon chief spoke to reporters after observing Army training in California's Mojave Desert on Sunday.

According to plans laid out last week, the U.S. expects to train nine Iraqi security forces brigades and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades. Hagel said the speed-up was recommended by Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command.

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