Pentagon Orders 16,000 Troops to Afghanistan as Part of Obama’s Surge

BY Dan Sagalyn  December 7, 2009 at 5:23 PM EDT

The Pentagon announced today which military forces will deploy to Afghanistan as part of the troop buildup President Obama announced last week at West Point. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the first batch of troops would include 1,500 Marines from Camp Lejeune. The Marines announced today these forces would deploy before the end of December. The rest of the troops announced today are expected to depart in the spring and include the following forces:

– 6,200 Marines from Regiment Combat Team-2, also from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina;

– 800 Marines from Camp Pendleton;

– the 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division from Ft. Drum which is composed of approximately 3,500 troops. The 1st Brigade’s mission will be to train Afghan security forces. In addition around 4,100 enablers and support soldiers from various units will also deploy this spring.

This week, the Pentagon’s top brass and administration officials will continue to testify before Congress, making the case for President Obama’s surge.

On Tuesday, the top military commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry will testify before the House Armed Services Committee starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Senate Armed Services Committee at 1:30 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, they appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And on Thursday morning, they testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Tonight on the broadcast, Jim Lehrer speaks with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the troop deployments.