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U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Summary

As interest in troop level deployments continue, recently, President Bush announced in a February 15, 2007 speech, the administration's plans for an increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan, including a planned gradual increase of 3,200 U.S. troops on the ground in the coming several months. The total troop deployment in this region is expected to reach 70,000 by 2008. Varying media estimates of military forces in Afghanistan have raised concerns about the actual number of U.S. troops currently deployed in the NATO and U.S. missions under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in that country. This report provides official Department of Defense (DOD) statistical information on U.S. forces now serving in Afghanistan with comparisons to earlier force levels. It also provides brief official information on the military units extended or scheduled for the next rotation of duty into Afghanistan. As of March 1, 2007, according to DOD, the United States had 24,845 troops stationed in Afghanistan--21,581 active component and 3,264 National Guard or Reserves. For security reasons, DOD does not routinely report the composition, size, or specific destination of military forces deployed to the Persian Gulf. This report will be updated upon receipt of new DOD data. For additional information on U.S. forces, see CRS Report RL33503, U.S. and Coalition Military Operations in Afghanistan: Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert.

Force Levels

As of March 1, 2007, according to Department of Defense (DOD), the United States had 24,845 military personnel deployed in Afghanistan. Of these, 21,581 were active component personnel and 3,264 were National Guard and Reserves. Figures 1 and 2 provide the distribution by armed service of active component personnel. These totals do not include 12,000 military support personnel in Kuwait, nor naval personnel aboard ships patrolling through the Persian Gulf. (1)

Amid concerns about U.S. troop levels in Iraq, in a February 15, 2007 speech, President Bush announced an extension of deployment for more than 3,200 U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the next several months as part of a new initiative in ongoing efforts to stabilize the security situation and to confront a resurgent Taliban. The total troop deployment in this region is expected to reach 70,000 by 2008. These forces are to be added to the personnel stationed in Afghanistan as reported by DOD on March 1, 2007. Additional deployment information is available from DOD's Directorate for Information Operations, which posts quarterly reports on casualties and worldwide active duty military personnel deployments by region and country. [http://siadapp.dior.whs.mil/personnel/MILITARY/Miltop.htm]

Comparative Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) U.S. Force Levels. Overall U.S. force levels in Afghanistan have been increasing since 2006, in both active duty and the reserve component. Based on DOD statistics, Figures 3, 4, and 5 provide comparative data on both active and reserve component force levels. DOD officials have declined to project the timing or size of future force reductions, noting these will depend upon the security situation within Iraq.

Operation Enduring Freedom Troop Rotations. On January 25 and February 14, 2007, DOD announced its latest scheduled troop deployment adjustments and schedule for rotations to Afghanistan in conjunction with OEF. The initial 2007schedule for the affected Army units is summarized in Table 1 below. Rotations for Army units normally last for one year; however, there is currently a 120 day deployment extension for one unit as listed in the table below.

(1) DOD Fact Sheet, Global Commitments, Jan. 9, 2007.

JoAnne O'Bryant and Michael Waterhouse

Information Research Specialists

Knowledge Services Group
Table 1. Operation Enduring Freedom Rotational Units

     Military Unit         Home Military Base    2007 Transitions

Army

4th Brigade Combat Team,   Fort Bragg, North     March, 2007 to
82nd Airborne Division     Carolina              Afghanistan

3rd Brigade,               Fort Drum, New York   120-day extension
10th Mountain Division                           of deployment in
                                                 Afghanistan

173rd Airborne Brigade     Vicenza, Italy        Spring, 2007 to
                                                 Afghanistan

Figure 1. Active Component Personnel in Afghanistan
(as of March 1, 2007)

Army           17,284
Air Force       3,088
Navy              784
Marine Corps      425

Source: Department of Defense, Office of Joints
Chiefs of Staff, "Boots on Ground" data.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 2. Reserve Component Personnel in Afghanistan
(as of March 1, 2007)

Army NG     3,090
Air NG        596
Army Rv       518
Air Rv        241
Navy Rv        50
Marine Rv       4

Source: Department of Defense, Office of Joints
Chiefs of Staff, "Boots on Ground" data.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 3. Comparative OEF Active Component Force Levels
(Feb 2006/Mar 2007)

       Feb-06   Mar-07

Army   11,398   17,284
Navy      316      784
AF      2,356    3,088
MC      1,171      425

Source: Department of Defense, Office of Joints
Chiefs of Staff, "Boots on Ground" data.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 4. Comparative OEF Reserve Component Force Levels
(Feb 2006/Mar 2007)

            Feb-06   Mar-07

Army NG      3,391    1,855
Air NG         261      596
Army Rv      1,278      518
AF Rv          110      241
Navy Rv          4       50
Marine Rv       12        4

Source: Department of Defense, Office of Joints
Chiefs of Staff, "Boots on Ground" data.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 5. Comparative U.S. Force Levels in Afghanistan
(Feb 2006-Dec 2006)

Feb 2006   20,299
May 2006   22,990
Jun 2006   21,733
Aug 2006   20,764
Oct 2006   19,090
Nov 2006    9,296
Dec 2006   20,502

Source: Department of Defense, Office of Joints Chiefs of Staff,
"Boots on Ground" data, November 1, 2005 through January 1, 2007.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 6. Comparative U.S. Force Levels in Afghanistan
(Years 2006 and 2007)

Feb 2006   20,297
Mar 2007   24,845

Source: Department of Defense, Office of Joints
Chiefs of Staff, "Boots on Ground" data.

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:O'Bryant, JoAnne; Waterhouse, Michael
Publication:Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:970
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