Army Planning for Current Iraq Troop Levels Through 2010

MSNBC has affixed the shocking headline “Army plans current Iraq troop levels until 2010” to an AP report which begins:

The U.S. Army has plans to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010, the top Army officer said Wednesday, a later date than Bush administration or Pentagon officials have mentioned thus far.

The Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, cautioned against reading too much into the planning, saying troops levels could be adjusted to actual conditions in Iraq. He said it is easier to hold back forces scheduled to go there than to prepare and deploy units at the last minute. “This is not a prediction that things are going poorly or better,” Schoomaker told reporters. “It’s just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot.”

So, in actuality, the Army does not plan to keep current troop levels through 2010 but is merely planning for that as a worst-case contingency. Failing to do that would be incredibly irresponsible.

Indeed, it’s hard to conceive of a scenario where this worst case comes to fruition. Either things will get better rather rapidly and the U.S. will move back to the Forward Observation Bases and fulfill logistical support roles, a full-scale civil war will finally erupt making continued American presence untenable, or the status quo will remain and whomever assumes the presidency in January 2009 will begin an exodus.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Media, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. civilbehavior says:

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

    LAST THROES

    MAKING PROGRESS

    WHERE?

  2. Triumph says:

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

    LAST THROES

    MAKING PROGRESS

    WHERE?

    Listen, the Army is just doing standard PLANNING.

    The war would have been over years ago had Clinton not totally destroyed and demoralized the military when he was commander-in-chief.

    If there is anyone to blame about the quagmire in Iraq, it’s Clinton.

  3. madmatt says:

    triumph…gosh is there anything that clinton can’t be blamed for? Last I looked the army worked just fine in defeating iraq…its the fact that the bushies didn’t have an occupation plan…something which was suggested by us silly liberals as well as several republicans. I suppose Clinton also appointed brown to fema and then created katrina to make the bushies look bad!

    Grow up and admit you were suckered in by a long time loser who sucked off the family tit his whole life!

  4. spencer says:

    Triumph– in WW II we massively expanded the army in just a couple of years.

    So why has Bush not used his six years in office to expand the military? I seem to remember Bush and Cheney bragging about what a great job the army they inherited from Clinton did against Saddam.

    Why are the professional planers at the Pentagon not being allowed to include their request for $40 billion to replace the equipment worn out and destroyed in Iraq in the budget?

  5. Triumph says:

    triumph…gosh is there anything that clinton can’t be blamed for?

    No! Clinton can be blamed for EVERYTHING! McCain blamed North Korean nuke tests on him, while Hastert blamed the Foley leaks on him!

    If there is a problem, blame Clinton!

  6. Cernig says:

    James,

    Fester over at Comments From Left Field has a rundown on where the Army might be able to get the 15 brigades a year it will need to prep for deployment and then possibly deploy. The short answer is – by grinding up Guard brigades in Iraq again and by keeping rests between deployments cut to 15 months or a year.

    Regards, C