WASHINGTON– The Defense Department today announced force rotations for Iraq and Afghanistan, including upcoming active-duty deployments later this year and alerts to Army National Guard units to deploy in spring 2009 and 2010. About 25,000 active-duty troops assigned to a division headquarters and seven brigade combat teams will begin to deploy to Iraq this fall, and continue through the year’s end, Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, announced today.

In addition, four Army National Guard brigades have been alerted of an upcoming deployment to Iraq, he said. About 14,000 affected soldiers are slated to begin deploying in spring 2009 to provide base defense and route security in Iraq and Kuwait.

In other news, the Vermont Army National Guard’s 86th Brigade Combat Team received an alert that it will deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2010 to support Afghan national security forces training.

All identified units will replace redeploying units, with no change in force strength, Whitman said. He emphasized, however, that longer-range deployment forecasts could change, based on conditions on the ground and commanders’ recommendations.

The 86th BCT’s alert, issued two years before its anticipated deployment date, represents the model the Defense Department would like to reach to give National Guard units maximum notice of upcoming deployments, Whitman said. “This is where the department is trying to get to with respect to predictability and early alert,” he said. “This unit will be replacing a unit … that has not yet deployed,” he said.

The 86th BCT will replace the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th BCT, scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in summer 2009.

The longer lead time will give National Guard soldiers more time to prepare for their deployment. “They can start their training now, knowing that they are going to be training the Afghan national security forces, knowing that they will be doing it in Afghanistan and not Iraq or somewhere else,” Whitman said. “And being able to plan for a 12-month mobilization two years out from now is something pretty significant about where the department is now,” compared to five or even two years ago, he added.

More notice also gives families more planning time and employers more flexibility in preparing for their employee’s absence, Whitman said.

Active-duty units receiving deployment orders to Iraq based on today’s announcement include:

— 25th Infantry Division: Headquarters and 3rd Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and 1st Brigade, Fort Wainwright, Alaska;

— 4th Infantry Division: 2nd Brigade, Fort Carson, Colo.;

— 1st Infantry Division: 2nd Brigade, Fort Riley, Kan.;

— 82nd Airborne Division: 3rd Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.;

— 1st Cavalry Division: 3rd Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; and

— 172nd Infantry Brigade, Schweinfurt, Germany.

National Guard units are receiving alert orders now to allow maximum time to prepare for next year’s deployments and to give greater predictability to families and employers, officials said.

Units alerted of upcoming deployments to Iraq and Kuwait are:

— Texas National Guard: 72nd Brigade Combat Team;

— Pennsylvania National Guard: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division;

— Louisiana National Guard: 256th Brigade Combat Team; and

— Tennessee National Guard: 278th Brigade Combat Team.

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