A few minutes ago, Lt. Gen. Jim Conway (operations boss for the Joint Chiefs) gave some new information on the troop reductions planned for Iraq. The Second Brigade of the Army’s First Armored Division will be stationed, for 90 days or more, in Kuwait as a “call forward” force. In effect, this is a vote of confidence in Iraqi forces. We can move the 2nd of the 1st into Iraq quickly if it’s needed, but by putting it outside Iraq we’re telling the Iraqis we think they can handle that much more of the security in their own nation. Gen. Conway said that another brigade, this one from the 1st Infantry Division, will be held at home in Fort Riley, Kansas.
As of today, there are about 216,000 Iraqi troops trained and equipped, with 44 battalions that “own their ground.” As Gen. Conway said, the trend lines are going in the right direction.