The Pentagon has approved the movement of a Patriot missile system and the amphibious transport dock Arlington to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, defense officials announced Friday.

The assets were part of CENTCOM’s original request for forces earlier this week. The movement of extra systems was approved by Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

These new assets will join the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber task force in the Middle East region in response to what the Pentagon calls “indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests.”

The Lincoln skipped a planned port of call in Croatia and passed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea on Thursday, the Navy announced.

B-52H Stratofortress bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, touched down at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Thursday, as well, according to the Air Force.

“It’s important that Iran understand that an attack on Americans or our interests would be met with an appropriate response," Shanahan told reporters Friday. "We are in the Middle East to defeat terrorism, fight for security, the clandestine insurgencies are really what we are there to address but we will protect ourselves and that’s very important.”

Defense officials have so far declined to comment on the record regarding the exact nature of the Iranian threat allegedly posed against U.S. forces.

“The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies,” according to the Pentagon’s statement Friday. “Due to operational security, we will not discuss timelines or location of forces.

“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."

A B-52H Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron lands at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 8. The Bomber Task Force is deployed to U.S. Central Command to defend American forces and interests in the region. (Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner/Air Force)
A B-52H Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron lands at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 8. The Bomber Task Force is deployed to U.S. Central Command to defend American forces and interests in the region. (Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner/Air Force)

The Arlington is a transport ship for Marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft and rotary aircraft with the capability to support amphibious assault, special operations forces and other expeditionary warfare missions.

Arlington also provides command and control for U.S. forces, as well as an improved interoperability with U.S. allies and partners in the region, the Pentagon said.

A Patriot battery is a long-range, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.