The U.S. Department of Defence thanked Spain Monday for allowing a one-year extension of a special Marine task force mission at the Morón base near Seville as well as an increase in the number of troops from 500 to 850.
Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, expressed Washington’s appreciation for the Spanish government’s willingness to host the unit and said: “”Spain has agreed to allow the task force to temporarily base there for an additional year and to increase the number of Marines.””
The U.S. government 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, and that both forces will benefit from the joint training.
Last Friday Spain announced the renewal of the venture that began at the request of Washington after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Chris Stevens and another three Americans died during the attack.
“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 Morón.
Since the mission´s beginning 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, primarily to evacuate Americans.