law, trade and technology. To guide the expansion of our relationship, the United States and Iraq signed a Strategic Framework Agreement, which specifies areas for dialogue, exchanges, links, and the transfer of expertise.
By the end of August 2010, U.S. Forces in Iraq will reduce the total number of equipment in Iraq from 3.4 million pieces in January 2009 to a total of 1.2 million pieces, which are required to support the remaining troops which will be organized six Advise and Assist Brigades plus enablers. Lieutenant General William Webster, who commands the Third Army and is overseeing the drawdown, said “This is the largest operation, that we’ve been able to determine, since the build-up for World War II.”
- The equipment is being moved to one of three places in priority order: to U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan, to replenish U.S. military stocks, and to Iraqi Security Forces to ensure they have the minimum essential capability to handle Iraq’s security. Most of the troops and equipment are being transported out of Iraq through Kuwait, although Jordan and Turkey are also permitting transit.
- The Army has dubbed the combined drawdown in Iraq and reinforcement in Afghanistan “Nickel II.” The name plays off the Third Army’s role in World War II, when General Patton ordered a dramatic turnabout to attack the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Patton called his operation “Nickel.”
As part of the drawdown in Iraq, U.S. forces are also closing or transferring military bases in Iraq.
- In June 2009, U.S. Forces occupied 357 bases. U.S. Forces currently occupy 121 bases, and are expected to reduce that number to 94 bases by the end of August.
The Big Picture: U.S. troops “Boots on the Ground” (BOG) in Iraq and Afghanistan
Several facts illustrate both the size and scope of the drawdown, and the shift in focus as we end the war in Iraq, and focus on al Qaeda and Afghanistan.
- In January 2009, there were about 177,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: 144,000 in Iraq and 33,000 in Afghanistan. In July 2010, there are about 169,000: 81,000 in Iraq and 87,000 in Afghanistan. In September 2010, there will be about 146,000: 50,000 in Iraq and 96,000 in Afghanistan. So even with the surge in Afghanistan, the total number of U.S. troops in