Twenty thousand US troops have received word that their units will deploy back to Iraq starting late in 2007, with the Pentagon announcing Tuesday the force adjustment was part of regular troop rotations.
"These forces are replacement forces for the level of effort of 15 combat brigades, which was the standing level of effort prior to the surge," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. "They are not forces identified to replace surge forces."
The seventeen thousand Marines and three thousand soldiers scheduled to deploy come from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters from Camp Pendleton, California; Marine Regimental Combat Teams One and Five, also out of Camp Pendleton; and the 3rd Brigade of the Army's 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Though Whitman said these units have been identified to replace forces that would be rotating out of Iraq, he offered no information about what units would be finishing their rotations.
The latest deployment calls for two Marine Corps regimental combat teams from Camp Pendleton, California, to arrive in Iraq for a 12-month tour in December, the Pentagon said.
The Army's 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, would also arrive in December but for a 15-month tour of duty.
A First Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters unit from Camp Pendleton would then deploy to Iraq early next year for 12 months.
The current deployment schedule would keep the Army brigade and First Marine Expeditionary Force unit in Iraq into 2009.