The White House also increased its prediction of trained security forces in Iraq on 28 June 2006 to 325,000 by year-end 2006.
Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey said the breakdown was as follows: 137,000 troops for Iraq's military (which is the number of military troops from the United States occupying Iraq at present,) and 188,000 local police and border control agents.
"It's just not appropriate yet to be thinking in terms of independent anything in Iraq," Dempsey said. General Peter J Schoomaker, army chief of staff, told the House Armed Services Committee that occupying Iraq is "open-ended."
"We're going to be in Iraq for a long time," Schoomaker said.
By Dempsey's account, police in Iraq number at about 100,000, with an additional 24,000 border control personnel planned for July 2006. The biggest issue facing training forces is not finding recruits, but finding training leaders he said.
President George W Bush had said in 2004, that the United States' military have been actively training Iraq's new army recruits and that nation's police force.
At present, the actual number of trained personnel in Iraq is not 100 percent certain.
The White House contends that the "goal" is to have trained 325,000 by year-end 2006, but the current number stands at 127,000 according to the Pentagon, which did not include trained border police.
Additionally, the definition of "trained" troops and police in Iraq varies widely, Prime Minister al-Maliki said, because trained civilians, border patrol agents, and security guards are included in the White House numbers. The government of Iraq also contends that once employment opportunities pick up, those seeking training pay would leave those positions to pursue other jobs.
During the 2004 presidential election in the United States the issue of trained security forces in Iraq became an issue of debate between President Bush and challenger senator John Kerry (D-MA.) President Bush at that time stated that the number of trained forces in Iraq had grown to 100,000.
President Bush said in September 2004 that the figure would double by year-end 2005 to 200,000. "With the help of the American military, the training of the Iraqi Army is almost halfway complete," President Bush said. After the 2004 election however, President Bush acknowledged that the Iraq troops were not ready to face combat.
In November 2005, (or seven months ago,) one year after the presidential election in the United State, the Pentagon released the Iraq troop training figures of which it stated, 22,700 personnel in Iraq were trained enough to be considered "minimally effective."
Less than 8,000 additional police recruits actually had completed a full course of training (eight weeks.) The Pentagon said that by July 2006 it was possible to have trained as many as 135,000 police officers in Iraq, it suggested the number was optimistic considering ongoing strife in Iraq.
The White House confirms that it is training 3,500 new police officer every 10 weeks, however it will not reveal the dropout rate during the eight-week course.
According to the White House, "Iraqi police recruits spent too much time in classroom lectures and received limited small-arms training. Now, recruits spend more of their time outside the classroom with intensive hands-on training in anti-terrorism operations and learning real-world survival skills."
Al-Maliki is the second prime minister post-United States invasion of Iraq and has offered an amnesty program to those armed civilians responsible for daily bomb and suicide-bombing attacks throughout the nation.
However, the White House's ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad, reported in a leaked memo to The Washington Post that the United States along with the newly formed government of Iraq cannot guarantee the safety of his staff working in what is called the Green Zone -- a secluded section of Baghdad surrounded by barbed wire and tight security.
The United States military death count reached 2,500 during June 2006, and at least 50,000 civilians in Iraq have been killed since the United States-led invasion in March 2003.
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