DoD Announces Next Operation Iraqi Freedom Troop Rotation
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2005 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today announced the next major units to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He emphasized that rotation planning remains flexible and will be based on conditions on the ground, not political pressures or artificial timetables.
Today's announcement affects about 92,000 servicemembers -- more than 65,000 from the active component and 26,000 from the Guard and Reserve -- who will begin their scheduled rotation in mid-2006, according to Army Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Defense Department spokesman.
Major units to deploy include:
- Division Headquarters and 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii;
- 13th Corps Support Command, Fort Hood, Texas;
- 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard;
- 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany;
- 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.;
- 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and
- 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Individual services will announce smaller, supporting units to deploy for the upcoming rotation, officials announced.
In other deployment news, the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Brigade, based at Fort Riley, Kan., will not deploy before Dec. 31, officials said. Brigade soldiers had planned to deploy in early December.
Force rotations ensure that the combatant commander has the forces needed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom while DoD continues to meet its worldwide commitments, Venable said. At the same time, rotation planning helps ensure a degree of predictability for troops, their families, their communities and, in the case of Guard and Reserve forces, their civilian employers, he said.
The upcoming rotation continues the Army's 12 months "boots-on-the-ground" policy goal for the more than 79,000 soldiers affected and will not increase the mobilization period for the reserve forces, Venable said.
More than 5,000 Marines to be affected will maintain their seven-month deployment cycle, he said.
The ultimate goal is for these forces, as part of Multinational Force Iraq, to help maintain the security environment until Iraq's security forces are capable of assuming full responsibility, Venable explained. Good progress is being made in that effort, he said, noting that more than 210,000 Iraqi security forces are now trained and equipped.
One Iraqi army division, four brigades and 23 battalions currently have the operational lead in their areas, Venable said. Another division, nine brigades and about 50 battalions are expected to be ready to assume lead responsibility by January.
As they increase in numbers and capability, Iraq's security forces are demonstrating solid professional performance, Venable said. He cited their solid contribution to recent combat operations in Tal Afar and the western Euphrates River Valley and during the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum.