At a press conference on Monday, Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters: “We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now … the dog is still in theatre.”
The defence secretary, Mark Esper, said the dog “performed a tremendous service, as they all do”.
The US military commonly uses Belgian Malinois dogs to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives. The breed is prized for its intelligence and ability to be aggressive on command, said Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association.
“That’s the kind of dog you want to lead a patrol like this,” said Aiello, a former Marine dog handler whose organisation helps active duty and retired military dogs. “They are the first line of defence. They go out front.”
Not releasing the name makes sense as a security precaution for the same reason you would not identify the troops who took part in the raid, he said. “There could be retaliation.”