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Army general: 'No reason to doubt' Obama's story

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  • Army Gen. George Casey: "No reason to doubt" Obama's military shortage story
  • Obama references a soldier's story about shortages in Afghanistan
  • Casey testifies at Senate Armed Forces Committee on troop shortages
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey, testifying on troop strain before the Senate Armed Forces Committee Tuesday, said there is "no reason to doubt" Sen. Barack Obama's military shortage story during CNN's debate in Austin, Texas, last week.

"You know, I've heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon -- supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon. Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq," Obama told CNN moderator Campbell Brown.

"And as a consequence, they didn't have enough ammunition, they didn't have enough Humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief," he added.

War supporters have challenged the story, but Casey said he had "no reason to doubt what it is the captain says."

"We acknowledged and we all worked together to correct the deficiencies with equipment that we saw during that period, not only Afghanistan but in Iraq," he said in response to the question posed by Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, a longtime supporter of GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. Video Watch CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider's take on the debate »

Casey told the general Obama had not contacted Army officials about the story before using it in the debate.

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Casey testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee along with Peter Geren, the secretary of the Army, on how the strain overseas could affect troop levels in the near future.

Casey said the goal is to reduce combat tours from 15 months to 12 months by midsummer. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Ed Hornick contributed to this report.

All About Barack ObamaU.S. Army ActivitiesIraq WarAfghanistan War

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