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Pentagon Official Comments on Iraq Troop Levels

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2005 – Recent news reports that say major U.S. troop reductions in Iraq may occur next year are speculative in nature, a senior Defense Department official said today.

"When we have any major force adjustments, I think we've always been very good about making those decisions known to you," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.

The Defense Department routinely prepares for possible contingencies, Whitman said, noting such planning could include increasing or decreasing troop levels in a certain geographic area. Currently, there are more than 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

"The United States military looks at the full range of things that could occur in Iraq and makes plans accordingly," Whitman said.

Whitman said military, political and economic conditions in Iraq all play into assessments about proper troop levels, and any adjustments made to U.S. force levels in Iraq are based on recommendations from commanders in the field.

"It remains something that the commanders continually assess, and as appropriate, will make recommendations as to the correct size and capabilities that the United States has in Iraq," Whitman said.

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