Friday, August 17, 2007

Pentagon: Surge on through Spring 2008

Above: A soldier with the 2nd Infantry Division pulls security during operations in Rashid last week.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Defense Department is planning to maintain the current U.S. troop in Iraq through spring, a top U.S. general said Thursday.

There are currently 20 brigade combat teams in Iraq as part of the buildup of U.S. troops known as the “surge.”

Lt. Gen. Carter Ham told reporters Thursday that five brigade combat teams now in Iraq will be replaced this fall.

The move would keep U.S. troop strength in Iraq at 20 brigade combat teams "absent any decisions" to change force levels in Iraq before spring, said Ham, director for operations of the Joint Staff.

“We are planning to maintain the current levels until spring of ’08, that’s the point at which the first of the so-called ‘surge brigades’ expires,” Ham said.

After Ham made his comments, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman explained that the brigades being replaced are part of the 15 that were in Iraq before the “surge” began.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes