Iraq wants Washington to provide more weapons, training, and manpower, two years after the United States pulled its troops out of the country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said his country needs help to fight resurgence by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
"We know we have major challenges of our own capabilities being up to the standard," Iraq's U.S. Ambassador Lukan Fally told the Associated Press. "They currently are not. We need to gear up, to deal with the threat more seriously. We need support and help."
Fally said they would be "more than happy to discuss all the options short of boots on the ground."
President Barack Obama withdrew almost all U.S. troops from Iraq in December 2011. Within months after the pullout, a new serge of violence between Sunnis and Shiites began erupting.
Al-Maliki intends to present the need during a meeting with Obama at the White House on Friday.
Suicide bombers in Iraq have launched nearly 40 attacks in the past month. More than 4,000 Iraqis have been killed in terror attacks since April, the Iraqi ambassador told the Associated Press.