Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Deputy Commanding General (Support) for United States Division – Center, briefed reporters today on the progress of troop withdrawals from Iraq. He told the group that all United States troops will be out of Iraq by Christmas. A small number will remain in Kuwait to facilitate the remaining shipping of equipment but nearly all the others should be home for the holiday.
BG Becker reported that as of today, the U.S. has gone from 505 bases in Iraq to seven. Six of those remaining bases, including the massive Camp Victory in Baghdad, will be transferred to the Iraqis. The consulate in Basra will be transferred to the U.S. State Department.
Becker told reporters that just under 20,000 troops remain in Iraq. That is down from a high of 165,000. The 25th Division is the only remaining division in the country.
Equipment is still being shipped out of the country, according to Becker. 1,740 truck loads remain, which are to carry 317,000 pieces of equipment. The equipment ranges from ceramic armor plates for vests to air conditioners to desks and chairs.
BG Becker commented on the Iraqi ability to assume full control of their security. He reminded the group that the Iraqis have been handling their own security for nearly two years. Terrorists such as al Qaeda still have the ability to launch attacks but the general fear of violence in the population has disappeared.
Becker did say that one major issue for the Iraqis is logistics. Their requisition and delivery systems are still less capable than they should be. They have the parts in depots and they have well trained soldiers capable of repairs but an electronic requisition and supply system is not yet in place.