The U.S. Defense Department thanked Spain Monday for allowing a one-year extension of a special mission of a Marine task force at the Moron base near Seville and an increase in the number of troops from 500 to 850.
"Spain has agreed to allow the task force to temporarily base there for an additional year and to increase the number of Marines from 500 to 850," a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said, expressing Washington's appreciation for the Spanish government's willingness to host the unit.
The U.S. Department of Defense said that the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response, or SPMAGTF-CR, serves as support both for the United States and for Spain, which will benefit from the two forces training together.
Spain announced last Friday the renewal of the accord that began at the request of Washington after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and another three Americans died.
"It's not necessarily an increase in threat, we don't believe. But it's an increase in demand for them," Warren said, explaining why the Pentagon wanted to expand the SPMAGTF-CR presence at Moron.
Since the mission began in April 2013, the task force, which is equipped with KC-130 transport planes and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, has been deployed during crises like the one in South Sudan last December to evacuate Americans. EFE