Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 13, 2006
Q: [Inaudible] see a return of US troops from Iraq this year or will it be 2007?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: [Inaudible] We just repeated what the President has said. That is we are there to complete the mission and the Iraqi government intends to see it completed to success. They are improving and strengthening their Security Forces. And as they do so, we will continue to pass off responsibility to them. There will be meetings with General Casey and the Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister in the weeks ahead discussing at what pace we’ll be able to draw down our forces and it will all be done in a very orderly way.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: The conditions on the ground will determine it and to the extent that it requires an increase as it did during the stand up the government, General Casey brought more some troops in. We are now down from a high of 160,000 to 129,000. We will have a force level that will be appropriate.
You have got to remember that the Iraqi Security Forces now are 263,000. They are vastly larger than we are and they are increasing every day, every week in both size and capability and experience.