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Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Africa - 2016 care packages appreciated in tough living conditions
IRAQ (SYRIA) - U.S. Troop numbers going up and troops moving to more hostile areas.
Military Times article - Feb. 3, 2016
The U.S. routinely has more troops on the ground in Iraq than the 3,500-3,600 frequently cited by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the high command and President Barack Obama, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said Wednesday.
"It's fair to say" that the number of U.S. troops in Iraq serving as trainers and advisors -- or in support or on special assignment -- was well above 4,000 on a daily basis, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
In recent weeks, Carter has said repeatedly that he was looking for "additional opportunities" for the deployment of more U.S. troops as trainers and advisors in an effort to retake Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and also to oust ISIS from Raqqa, the self-proclaimed insurgent capital in northeastern Syria.
AFGHANISTAN - Troops taking on more dangerous assignments. Presence may last years or decades.
Washington Post article - Feb. 5, 2016
The commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan has presented military leaders with recommendations that, if approved, would further expand the U.S. military role in helping local forces confront the Taliban and other militants.
Last month, a U.S. soldier was killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan Special Operations mission there (Helmand Province).
Military Times article - Feb. 2, 2016
Title -"It'll be 2024 before Afghanistan can fully fund its military, U.S. general says"
“Too many times," the general added, "we try to compare the Afghan security forces with the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army has been around 200 years.”
Stars & Stripes article dated Feb. 9, 2016 -
Title - "More US troops to be sent to Helmand, military says"
“A U.S. Army infantry battalion is deploying from Fort Drum, New York,” said Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner ... the move also involves sending more advisers to work with Afghan units in the volatile (Helmand) province.
The battalion-size unit would number roughly 700-800 troops, with many of those likely to be engaged in force-protection duties for the train, advise and assist teams.
EASTERN EUROPE - Increasing troop numbers, equipment and bases to deter Russia.
As Defense News reported Feb. 6, the service will see a big ramp-up in OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) funding for Europe as part of an effort to deter Russia’s military aggression in Eastern Europe and to bolster allies’ defense capabilities.
According to a defense official, of the $2.8 billion, $1 billion will go toward putting a "heel-to-toe" armored brigade combat team (ABCT) in theater, so from now on, there will be a Stryker brigade, an infantry brigade and an armored brigade in Europe 24/7 on a rotational basis.
“There will be a greater troop presence [in Europe],” because of the Army’s plan to keep consistent rotational forces, Horlander said. The Army has about 34,000 soldiers stationed in the US European Command area of operations.
NORTH AFRICA - U.S. Military is increasing its presence.
Reuters - Feb. 9, 2016 article
President Barack Obama is proposing about $200 million in new military spending to confront Islamist militants in north and west Africa.
NY Times - Jan 22, 2016 article
Worried about a growing threat from the Islamic State in Libya, the United States and its allies are increasing reconnaissance flights and intelligence collecting there and preparing for possible airstrikes and commando raids, senior American policy makers, commanders and intelligence officials said this week.