The deployment will include four brigades aimed at training and advising Iraqis – a nod to America's slow pullback from the front lines.
This year and next, the Pentagon will deploy four new units called Advisory and Assistance Brigades to Iraq. The US military has been advising the Iraqi security forces for several years, but this is the first time the Defense Department has designed a training unit tailored to the needs of Iraq. It reflects the more prominent training role that is emerging for American troops there.
All combat troops will leave Iraq by August 2010, and all other forces are scheduled to be gone by the end of 2011 unless separate agreements are made between the US and Iraq. There are currently 128,000 US troops in Iraq.
The deployment of the four new units of about 3,500 soldiers each will take place between this fall and next spring. Ultimately, the Pentagon will send to Iraq at least two more Advisory and Assistance Brigades, or AABs, which could deploy in separate units like the ones being deployed currently, infused into traditional combat brigades, or some combination of the two.
The units include more civil engineers, military police, and logistics personnel. They may also include military or civilian specialists to help foster Iraqi rule of law, governance, economic development, and cultural advising, defense officials say.