U.S. official: Fewer assets devoted to Libya already
Smoke billows as Libyan rebels progress westward from Bin Jawad toward Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte on Monday.
- At least 2 ships not involved in daily operations now
- U.S. doesn't need to be able to fire as many Tomahawk missiles, official says
- Presence won't be drastically reduced yet
(CNN) -- The U.S. military has already reduced its day-to-day presence in the operation in and around Libya, according to a defense official.
"Some of the ships have peeled off, but are still in the region," said the official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the mission.
At least two of the ships involved in the initial phase of establishing the no-fly zone over Libya are no longer involved in day-to-day operations, the official said.
The U.S. still "would still keep the capability to fire Tomahawk missiles, but they're not needed as much. So the ships that have that capability may go to other spots as needed," the defense official said. There is still enough capability to do what the U.S. has to do, he said.
"The USS Providence has now moved on to previously assigned tasking, having completed all strikes missions assigned to her," Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.
While drawing down on the assets that can fire Tomahawk missiles, the official said the U.S. would not drastically reduce its presence while Moammar Gadhafi's forces are still capable of mounting resistance and attacks.
"You still see anti-aircraft fire shooting off at night, which means the capability is still there" to shoot down planes, the official said. "We don't want to get too low on manpower, not yet."
Part of complete coverage on
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.
Most popular stories right now