Speaking with defense reporters on Tuesday morning, Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, expressed concern about the amount and kind of support the Administration’s planned troop surge in Iraq will need. Skelton noted that the new head of the Multi-National Force—Iraq, Army Gen. David Petraeus, has asked for at least 2,200 additional military police on top of the planned 21,000-plus ground force buildup. Skelton answered his own question— “where are you going to get the MPs?”—saying, “I think you’re going to end up with a lot more sailors and airmen doing security work.” He added: “Already today we have about 22,000 sailors and airmen doing security work. We’re really stretching the force. ”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.