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Planning for Replacing Troops in Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2003 – Whether or not another multinational division is ready for deployment in February, the 101st Airborne Division will come home on time, said U.S. Central Command officials.

A plan unveiled in July called for a multinational division to replace the 101st in Mosul, Iraq, in February. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he still hopes an international division will be ready for duty in Iraq, but the U.S. military is making plans in case this does not happen.

Rumsfeld said getting a multinational division in place is complicated and will take time. He said the nation providing troops would have to work with the U.S. Central Command and the Iraqi Governing Council. The nation would have to work out a memorandum of understanding on how the troops would be supplied, where they would be based, how they would receive orders, and so on. "That suggests to me that it will take a bit of time," he said during a Pentagon press conference today.

The U.S. military has made decisions on what would happen if the international troops weren't ready. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said that almost all reserve component units that might be needed have been notified. Some combat support and combat service support units mostly in the reserves have not yet been notified.

The secretary said some support may come from other services.

Beginning in February, the 1st Cavalry Division, augmented by the 39th Infantry Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard, will begin replacing the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad. Beginning in March, the 1st Infantry Division, augmented by the 30th Infantry Brigade of the North Carolina Guard, will begin replacing the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit. The 81st Infantry Brigade of the Washington National Guard will replace the 53rd Enhanced Special Brigade from the Florida National Guard around Baghdad.

Officials in Baghdad said the Mosul area is relatively calm. The northern area of Iraq has a good number of trained Iraqi police and may not need a unit the size of the 101st in February. Plans remain for a multinational division for the area, but officials said it may not turn out to be a soldier-for-soldier swap. If changes force an American unit to go to the area, then there is a back-up plan, Rumsfeld said.

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