Rumsfeld: Generals will get troops they need
No one has asked for reinforcements so far, he says
From Jamie McIntyre
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that U.S. commanders in Iraq will get any reinforcements they need, but so far, they have not asked.
His comments come as the coalition has been battling a Shiite uprising in parts of Iraq for the past several days. U.S. forces clashed with militants Tuesday in Baghdad and at least four cities in the country's south. (Full story)
Rumsfeld said commanders routinely review troop strength but have not requested an increase.
"At the present time, they've announced no change in their plans, but they could make such a request at any time," Rumsfeld said. "They will decide what they need, and they'll get what they need."
About 134,000 U.S. troops are serving in Iraq, but that number is scheduled to drop to 110,000 during the next few months.
CNN reported Monday that Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, told his military planners to draw up options in case he decides the situation in Iraq warrants additional U.S. troops.
Sources said options include repositioning troops within Iraq, moving troops from Kuwait, accelerating the scheduled deployment of replacement troops from the United States, or identifying small additional units that could be moved from the United States or elsewhere.
Another option would be to extend the tour of duty of some troops already in Iraq, a Pentagon official acknowledged Tuesday. But at the same time, officials played down the possibility.
One official said extending the tours of U.S. troops is not a "formal option" and that it is not under "active consideration."
A decision to keep troops in Iraq beyond a one-year tour would break a promise the Pentagon made to bring "predictability" to the stress of overseas deployments.
"Any decision to extend the tours of duty would come at a cost," one official said. "That would have to be taken into consideration."