MILITARY

Pentagon chief says US is speeding up training of Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State group

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. Wary of a more muscular Russia and China, Hagel said Saturday the Pentagon will make a new push for fresh thinking about how the U.S. can keep and extend its military superiority despite tighter budgets and the wear and tear of 13 years of war. (AP Photo/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. Wary of a more muscular Russia and China, Hagel said Saturday the Pentagon will make a new push for fresh thinking about how the U.S. can keep and extend its military superiority despite tighter budgets and the wear and tear of 13 years of war. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)  (The Associated Press)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. military is accelerating its efforts to train and advise Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants.

Hagel said U.S. special operations troops in Iraq's western Anbar province are getting an early start on the train-and-advise effort.

Hagel said the effort began a few days ago. 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, the commander of U.S. Central Command.