Dubai: The US plans to bolster military presence in the Arabian Gulf after it withdraws its remaining troops from Iraq this year, US officials speaking to the New York Times said.

That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

The size of the standby US combat force to be based in Kuwait remains the subject of negotiations, with an answer expected in coming days.

Officers at the Central Command headquarters here declined to discuss specifics of the proposals, but it was clear that successful deployment plans from past decades could be incorporated into plans for a post-Iraq footprint in the region.

With an eye on the threat of a belligerent Iran, the administration is also seeking to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

While the United States has close bilateral military relationships with each, the administration and the military are trying to foster a new "security architecture" for the Arabian Gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defence.