Kevin Baron
Stars & Stripes
February 16, 2010

Don’t read too much into the Pentagon’s 26 percent slash to the overseas war budget. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon does not yet know how many troops will draw down from Afghanistan this year. Instead, the Defense Department is budgeting to hold level at 98,000 troops through 2012. Just don’t bet on that.

Though most of the $42 billion drop can be attributed to the pullout from Iraq, Gates said the DOD is not taking chances.

“What we have done is what we have done in the past: We have budgeted an FY12 for 98,000 troops. It’s a conservative approach to budgeting,” Gates said Monday at the Pentagon. “…But that’s not to say that we will have 98,000 troops at the end of FY12. In fact, it’s a lead-pipe cinch that we won’t.”

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