Jessica Lynch Forums: Troop Rotation Into Iraq Poses Increased Danger - Jessica Lynch Forums

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Troop Rotation Into Iraq Poses Increased Danger army says

#1 User is offline   jessefan 

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,101
  • Joined: 19-August 03

Posted 26 November 2003 - 12:22 AM

The one thing I don't see mentioned here is that green troops unacclaimated to the instincts for survival in Iraq will be replacing the experienced troops who are so acclaimated. That alone could cause the casualties to go up.

Army Says Troop Rotation Into Iraq Poses Increased Danger

Published: November 26, 2003

ASHINGTON, Nov. 25 Senior Army officers have told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the rotation of more than 100,000 soldiers into Iraq early next year will present a great risk for American forces, with officials saying they must prepare for a surge in attacks on troops who may be more vulnerable during the transition.


The worry, according to Pentagon and military officials, is based on a number of factors, including a temporary increase in the number of troops present in Iraq during the rotation and the prospect that they will be traveling across unfamiliar territory before reaching more secure bases.

"There will be a lot of movement, a lot of forces in transit," one Army officer said. "This raises serious force protection issues for us."

While recognizing these risks, American commanders in Iraq say proper planning could result in significant advantages that could help offset the dangers.

According to Pentagon and military officials, commanders are planning to take advantage of the overlap of arriving and departing soldiers, which offers a natural, if temporary, increase in troop strength without the politically contentious process of requesting additional forces.

Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of American and coalition forces in the region, is said by senior Pentagon officials to be well into planning for new operations intended to help stabilize Iraq and to capture or kill anti-American fighters during the rotation period. Officers declined to discuss specific plans being considered.

During the troop rotation, which will take place roughly from February to May, more than 105,000 troops will flow into Iraq to replace the current deployment of about 130,000.

A senior Pentagon official said that during planning discussions for the rotation, Mr. Rumsfeld was told by senior officers that "the more American forces you have over there, the more targets the other guys have."

This issue, the official said, "was raised in all of its context: What happens when you have that many more U.S. forces? What are the opportunities? What are the risks?" Senior military officers expressed concerns "not as a warning, but said it is definitely a factor," the Pentagon official added.

Those worries did prompt the Army to begin a series of tabletop simulations to plan for protecting American forces during the rotation, Army officers said.

Military analysts outside the Pentagon added another cautionary note, pointing out that the rotation comes during the presidential primary season, which may allow anti-American forces to think they can influence American politics.

Guerrilla insurgencies "are ultimately about affecting political will," said Loren Thompson, an analyst with the Lexington Institute, a Washington-area policy research center.

Even as the White House and Pentagon describe plans for decreasing American troop numbers by spring as driven by military requirements and not domestic politics, anti-American forces are aware of the election cycle and probably hope their violence will diminish support for the effort in Iraq, Mr. Thompson said.

"They see their attacks as a potentially significant issue for the president's re-election," he said.

The bulk of the new troops will first gather at bases in the region outside Iraq, where they will become acclimated to the terrain and weather and join up with their heavy equipment before entering Iraq.

Plans then call for arriving units to overlap with those they replace, conducting joint missions.

American military officers in Iraq have spent considerable time, effort and money to establish relationships with civic and religious leaders in their areas of responsibility, and passing those ties on to successors is a priority.

"This overlap time will let them learn the lay of the land, meet the local contacts and continue those relationships established by the current force," one officer said. "A `hands-on hand-off' is better than a briefing book."

Another challenge for commanders of troops now on the ground is to maintain the combat focus of soldiers eagerly awaiting their departure day. For commanders of those troops arriving in Iraq, the challenge is to bring them quickly to full readiness in a new and unfamiliar environment, officers said.

The coming rotation is described by senior Army officers as the largest American troop movement in such a time frame since World War II.

Senior Pentagon officials said Tuesday that Mr. Rumsfeld was readying another set of alert orders for reservists to prepare for possible duty in Iraq next year, and that 2,000 to 3,000 additional active-duty marines might also be added to the rotation of forces entering Iraq next year.


Share this topic:

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users