The progressive think tank the Center for American Progress has just released a report that strikes a balance between the two extremes in laying out a strategy for phased consolidation of US resources that, the authors posit, would allow a safe and orderly redeployment of US forces within 10 to 12 months.
Written by Lawrence J. Korb, Max Bergmann, Sean Duggan, Peter Juul, the strategy would withdraw US forces from geographic outliers first, consolidating them before the final withdrawal.
Units would move using a combination of their own ground transportation and intra-theater air support. The American military footprint would shrink from the outside to the center, starting first with withdrawal from the most northern bases—excluding the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division and the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne, which would redeploy from around Kirkuk and Tikrit north of Baghad to Iraq’s Kurdish region to support a temporary U.S. commitment to resolve outstanding Turkish-Kurd issues. The remaining units would then redeploy from the rest of northern Iraq followed by Diyala to the west and Anbar province to the east. Our forces would then be consolidated in Baghdad, from which they would withdraw until all American forces—save a temporary residual presence in Iraq’s Kurdish region—would eventually be gone.
Such a phased consolidation would play to the military’s strengths, employing advanced logistical and maneuver tactics. It would be slow enough so as to not leave Iraq with a sudden power vacuum, but swift enough so US troops are not left in harm’s way for years.
The plan would require no more troop deployment to Iraq to replace those combat units rotating out. The authors suggest that if the phased consolidation were to begin immediately, two combat brigades could be withdrawn per month, in addition to a proportional number of support personnel. At that rate, American forces could be out of Iraq by July 2008.
See the full report for more details on CAP’s plan on How to Redeploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq.