(The Hill)– The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday that a proposal to increase the total number of American troops in Afghanistan is being considered by President Obama and the Secretary of Defense.

Speaking after a trip to the Middle East, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), flanked by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), said Tuesday he had mentioned to Obama a proposal to increase the total number of troops in Afghanistan by about 70,000. The president confirmed he was considering the idea, Levin said.

“I urged the president strongly and with very direct words that this needed to be done to enhance the possibilities of success of our mission and to speed up the reduction of our forces so that that important part of our mission, which is the build-up of Afghan forces to take responsibility for their own security, can be improved and enhanced,” Levin said. “He told me that it was under consideration at that very time. As a matter of fact, I believe Admiral [Mike] Mullen told me yesterday that it was being considered yesterday afternoon.”