As a result of the President’s Iraq strategy review, the Department of Defense announced today an increase of 20,000 U.S. military forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specific decisions made by the Secretary of Defense include:
+ The 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., and currently assigned as the call forward force in Kuwait, will move into Iraq and assume a security mission there.
+ The 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, will be extended in its current mission for up to 125 days and will redeploy not later than August 2007.
+ The 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Ft. Riley, Kan., will deploy in February 2007 as previously announced.
Three other Army combat brigades will deploy as follows:
+ The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Benning, Ga., will deploy in March 2007.
+ The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Lewis, Wash., will deploy in April 2007.
+ The 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Stewart, Ga., will deploy in May 2007.
The Marine Corps will extend two reinforced infantry battalions for approximately 60 days. Additionally, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) will remain in Iraq for approximately 45 additional days.
Other combat-support and combat-service-support units may also be deployed as necessary once new requirements are assessed.
The additional forces will help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods while protecting the local population. These actions will build the capacity available to commanders to 20 brigade or regimental combat teams to assist in achieving stability and security and accelerate Iraqi Security Force development.
Finally, the USS Stennis Carrier Strike Group and the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Regiment will deploy to the region to bolster security.
These deployments reflect the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people. In consultation with the Iraqi government, commanders will continue to assess the situation and make recommendations about the appropriate force levels that best support the Iraqi government.
The department recognizes the continued sacrifices of these units and their family members.