Pentagon adds extra 1,000 troops to 'surge' on same day House expresses disapproval
On the same day that the House of Representatives expressed its disapproval of President Bush's US troop increase in Iraq, the Pentagon announced it is accelerating the deployment of a division headquarters there by about three months, which would add another 1,000 troops to the "surge."
The 3rd Infantry Division headquarters based in Fort Stewart, Ga., will deploy next month instead of in June, a Pentagon statement said.
"The headquarters will provide command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of Baghdad security operations," it said.
The division already has 4,500 troops in Iraq, and another 8,000 are preparing to deploy in March and May, the US Army said. The headquarters move will involve about 1,000 soldiers.
President George W. Bush has ordered the deployment of some 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq as part of a major push to halt a slide toward civil war and secure Baghdad.
There are currently 141,000 US troops in Iraq.
The Pentagon statement was released late in the afternoon on Friday, as the House of Representatives debated a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Bush's troop increase in Iraq today. The resolution passed by 246 to 182, with six Congressional members abstaining.
A total of 246 of the current 434 House members voted for the motion, which says "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007" to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.
Aside from AFP, RAW STORY was unable to find any other news organization reporting on what amounts to a roughly five percent increase in the "surge."
The full press release issued by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) follows:
DoD Announces Force Adjustment
The Department of Defense announced today the accelerated deployment of the 3rd Infantry Division headquarters, based in Fort Stewart, Ga. to Iraq. The headquarters was previously identified for deployment on Nov. 17, 2006. The unit was scheduled to begin its deployment in June 2007, but will now begin its deployment in March 2007.
The headquarters will provide command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of Baghdad security operations.
This three-month acceleration affects approximately 1,000 servicemembers.
U.S force levels in Iraq continue to be conditions-based, and are determined upon the recommendations of military commanders in Iraq and in consultation with the Iraqi government.
DoD will continue to announce major unit deployments and adjustments as they are identified and those units are alerted.
(with wire reports)