William H. McMichael
September 16, 2009
[efoods]About 3,000 additional troops are headed to Afghanistan — but not as part of any new request from the top U.S. commander there, a senior defense official said Monday.
The troops are what the military calls “combat enablers” — noncombat troops who specialize in areas such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; explosives ordnance disposal; medical and mental health; and personnel administration. They will deploy in team-sized elements as opposed to larger units, according to the official, who asked not to be identified.
About 1,000 such troops also will deploy to Iraq, the official said, adding that both groups are being sent in response to existing requests by the theater commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The so-called “request for forces” was approved two weeks ago by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the official said.
That request has been forwarded to U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which is now identifying the troops to be deployed and the services from which they’ll be drawn.
As such, no deployment orders have been signed and no time frame for the deployments has yet been finalized, the official said.