Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to reporters after a closed meeting with Commander Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie and Special Forces Commander Lt. General Richard Clarke at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, to discuss regional security concerns and operations.
CENTCOM oversees military operations in the Middle East. Pompeo's remarks come after the Trump administration announced it wasto the Middle East amid increased aggression from Iran, including potentially attacking tankers in the Persian Gulf.
Pompeo said that he, McKenzie and Clarke had spoken about military tactics, and the decision to send additional troops.
"This isn't just two and a half years or five years. This is 40 years of Iranian activity that has led to this point," Pompeo said about the pressure campaign the U.S. is undertaking against Iran.
"We are there to deter aggression. President Trump does not want war," Pompeo added.
He said that one of the purposes of his meeting in Tampa was to ensure that the State Department and CENTCOM were coordinated.
When asked what message he would send to service members in the Middle East, Pompeo said he would thank them and that "American is deeply appreciative."
Pompeo also briefly addressed President Trump's threat that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin deporting millions of illegal immigrants, saying that the U.S. needed to secure the border.