Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan approved the USS Arlington and Patriot battery's movement. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The U.S. is deploying the USS Arlington, an amphibious transport ship, and a Patriot air defense system to U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, the Defense Department announced on Friday.

What to watch: This decision is partially based on U.S. intelligence that says Iran has green-lit some proxy forces to "go after American military personnel and assets in the region," 3 U.S. officials told NBC. An anonymous defense official told the AP the same thing last Monday, saying Iran and its proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region.

"The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region."
— DOD in a statement on Friday

The backdrop: The U.S. deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force earlier this week to send "a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime" that attacks on U.S. interests or allies will be met with force.

  • President Trump announced sanctions on Iran's iron, steel, aluminum and copper exports this week in an effort to curb any revenue that may be used for developing weapons, amid renewed tensions regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

Go deeper: Trump's next moves to tank the Iranian economy

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.

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