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Fact Sheet: President Bush Receives Briefing From Military Commanders

February 17, 2006

Today, President Bush Received A Briefing On Ongoing Operations In The War On Terror At MacDill Air Force Base In Tampa, FL. The President was briefed by General John Abizaid, Commander Of U.S. Central Command, and General Doug Brown, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. The United States and its allies are making progress in winning the War on Terror, breaking up terrorist networks and disrupting plots, and through the advance of freedom, undermining the terrorists' ideology.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)

General Abizaid Provided An Overview Of CENTCOM's Operations Across 27 Countries. The command is focused on ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, going after al-Qaida throughout the region, assisting the nations in the Horn of Africa to secure their borders, denying the terrorists safe havens, and stemming the spread of extremism throughout the region.

  • CENTCOM Is One Of Nine Defense Department Unified Combatant Commands Assigned Operational Control Of U.S. Combat Forces. CENTCOM's area of responsibility includes: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, as well as the northwestern Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf. Currently, more than 60 nations have military representatives assigned to the CENTCOM headquarters.

The Mission In Iraq: The United States is pursuing a three-track - political, economic, and security - strategy for victory in Iraq. In 2006, it is anticipated that the Iraqi military will take more of the lead for security throughout Iraq. Our military commanders are focusing on developing the Iraqi police forces, and we are helping the Iraqis develop a disciplined force that protects the rights of all Iraqis.

  • There are some 100 Iraqi Ministry of Defense combat battalions in the fight - up from August 2004 when there were only a handful of Iraqi Army battalions engaged in the fight.

  • There are 10 brigade headquarters and 43 battalions that have assumed battle space. In July 2004, there were no operational Army division or brigade headquarters, and no Iraqi battalions owned their own battle space.

  • In December 2005, the Iraqi armed forces performed more independent operations than did the coalition forces.

  • There are more than 227,000 trained and equipped Iraqi security forces - up from 115,000 Iraqi security forces 14 months ago. There are now more than 18,000 Coalition troops from over 30 nations assisting in Iraq.

The Mission In Afghanistan: There are over 20,000 American troops leading counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. Over the next few months, one battalion-sized task force will replace an entire brigade as additional NATO forces come in. This will bring U.S. force levels to approximately 16,500. In Afghanistan, American forces are joined by more than 12,000 Coalition and NATO troops from 39 nations. We have trained nearly 27,000 Afghan National Army and over 58,000 Afghan police, which are actively conducting security operations.

Relief Operations In Pakistan: In the wake of the devastating earthquakes that struck Pakistan last fall, CENTCOM is coordinating American military relief operations with the Government of Pakistan, the United Nations, and relief NGOs. CENTCOM also established the Disaster Assistance Center Pakistan. Accomplishments include:

  • Local Citizens Evacuated: 18,600

  • Medical Evacuations: 3,700

  • Patients Seen to Date: about 34,000

  • Humanitarian Aid Delivered: 12,400 short-tons

  • Strategic Airlift from the U.S.: 374 aircraft, 9,240 short-tons

  • Sorties in theater: 4,480

  • Military personnel: about 630 (now) / 1200 (at peak)

The Combined Joint Task Force - Horn Of Africa (CJTF-HOA): The Task Force conducts operations and training to assist host nations in combating terrorism to establish a secure environment and enable regional stability.

U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM)

General Brown Discussed SOCOM's Role In The War On Terror. SOCOM leads, plans, synchronizes, and, as directed, executes global operations against terrorist networks. SOCOM trains, organizes, equips, and deploys combat-ready special operations forces, including Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, Air Force special operators, and Marines, who are part of the newly formed Marine Corps Special Operations Command. These forces have specialized skills, equipment, and tactics, and are organized with a regional focus to take advantage of language and political skills.

  • American Special Operations Forces Have Been The Cornerstone Of Military Operations Since The Beginning Of The Global War On Terror. The command's vision is: "To be the premier team of special warriors, thoroughly prepared, properly equipped, and highly motivated: at the right place, at the right time, facing the right adversary, leading the Global War on Terrorism, accomplishing strategic objectives of the United States."

The Recently Released Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Announced A Force Structure And Budget Increase For SOCOM That Will Enable It To Meet The Demands Of The Future. The need for Special Operations Forces is greater than ever before. The QDR announced that SOCOM will add more than 13,000 personnel to its existing 52,000-strong command, and its budget will increase by around $9 billion over the next five years. These additions will bolster capability in almost every facet of special operations.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: President Bush Receives Briefing From Military Commanders Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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