Army Is Planning for 100,000 G.I.'s in Iraq Till 2006

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Fri Nov 21 21:11:48 MST 2003

*****   New York Times   November 22, 2003
Army Is Planning for 100,000 G.I.'s in Iraq Till 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 - Army planning for Iraq currently assumes
keeping about 100,000 United States troops there through March 2006,
a senior Army officer said Friday. The plans reflect the concerns of
some Army officials that stabilizing Iraq could be more difficult
than originally planned.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, warned that
maintaining a force of that size in Iraq beyond then would cause the
Army to "really start to feel the pain" from stresses on overtaxed
active-duty, Reserve and National Guard troops.

The officer was offering a senior-level Army view on the issue, but
the size of any future American force in Iraq will ultimately be
decided by President Bush and a new provisional Iraqi government that
is expected to assume control from an American administrator by June.
The Army plans nevertheless give a view of top-level Pentagon
thinking about the size of the American force that may be needed in
Iraq well beyond the time next year when Washington expects to turn
political control of Iraq back to Iraqi leaders.

Mr. Bush has said he will be guided by the military's judgment in
deciding troop levels. Military officials have said they will base
their recommendations largely on security conditions in Iraq and the
extent Iraqis are trained to fill missions now carried out by
American troops. . . .

Planners at the United States Central Command in Tampa, Fla., which
has responsibility for military operations in Iraq, closely watch the
specific troop requirements in Iraq. For that reason, Gen. John P.
Abizaid of the Army, who heads the Central Command, will probably
have the most influential voice in deciding future troop levels in

"John Abizaid is the one who's going to tell us at several points
down the road over the next couple of years what he thinks he's going
to need," the senior Army officer said.

Even so, the views of senior Army and Marine Corps officers involved
in the planning in Washington are important because those officers
track and respond to what ground commanders in Iraq say they require.

Just how large the American military presence in Iraq will be in the
future depends not only on negotiations with Iraqi political leaders
but also on the level of violence in Iraq and how quickly newly
trained Iraqis can take over security, American officials say.

Teams of Army Special Forces are now training Iraqis in an
accelerated program to fill out the ranks of a civil defense corps,
the equivalent of a militia.

The Iraqi militiamen are already conducting joint patrols with
American forces, and General Abizaid has said he envisions the
militia over time assuming a more prominent and independent role in
attacking Baath Party supporters, foreign fighters and other
insurgents who carry out ambushes and roadside bombings against
American forces.

To combat the insurgents in Iraq, General Abizaid and his subordinate
commanders have said they need better intelligence.

To that end, Stephen A. Cambone, the under secretary of defense for
intelligence, said Friday that the Defense Department had instructed
the military services to beef up their human intelligence capacities
to address unmet needs in Iraq.

"We're a little short on the human side, there's no denying that, so
we're in the process of adding to the number of people who may be
involved," Dr. Cambone said at a breakfast with defense writers. He
did not provide specifics, but indicated that the changes were part
of a broader effort to reinforce American intelligence capacity in
Iraq to support the campaign against insurgents.

Dr. Cambone said that the lack of sufficient human intelligence
capabilities in the military services had become apparent during
operations in Iraq, but that it dated from cuts made during the early
1990's. He said the main focus of the American military effort in
Iraq would continue to be primarily on "former regime loyalists who
are trying to drive out the coalition."

Exactly what kind of relationship the American military has with a
new Iraqi provisional government was discussed on Thursday at a
meeting of General Abizaid, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and
other senior military officials.

One official involved that said that the internal discussions were at
a preliminary stage, and that General Abizaid would make
recommendations in coming weeks. "We're looking at lots of different
possible arrangements," the official said.

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