Strain of Ongoing Wars Prompts Increase, Gates Says
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates today announced what he termed a “temporary” increase in the size of the US Army, adding 22,000 more troops over the next three years and bringing the active duty numbers to 569,000.
Gates said the move was prompted by his concern that the Army could not continue its troop rotations at current levels in both the Afghan and Iraq wars. Pentagon officials say they will boost the numbers through both increased recruitment and increased retention of existing troops.
The move has been talked about in the past, but comes on the heals of two recent announcements from the Pentagon. Last week, they announced troop rotations for Iraq through early 2010, revealing that they anticipate the number of troops to remain roughly flat at the present 131,000.
Hot on the heals of that announcement, Gates said it was possible that the US escalation into Afghanistan, previously seen to be finalized, might end up sending even more troops than previously planned. Officials have indicated that the administration is considering a further increase of 10,000 additional troops at some point in 2010.
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