In a letter to Congress, President Obama said he is sending up to 200 additional troops to Iraq to provide security for U.S. personnel already on the ground in the country.
Obama said the force is equipped for combat, but it is being sent to "reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy, its support facilities, and the Baghdad International Airport."
The United States has beefed up its presence in Iraq since a Sunni militant group launched an insurgency in the country.
The president had previously deployed about 300 military advisers to assist Iraqi security forces and he sent 275 troops to guard the embassy.
Obama says this force is also equipped with rotary-wing aircraft and can assist with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.