Pentagon scrubs Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria troop numbers from latest report

The Pentagon’s quarterly report on the number of American troops serving overseas was released this week. Curiously, troop numbers for Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were omitted from the report.

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© Lisa Forster

The report, released by the Defense Manpower Data Center, lists the number of armed-forces personnel in each state, and in each country overseas.

The quarterly reports are usually released three months after the end of the quarter, and the December 2017 report was released late this week, citing a change in policy as reason for the delay, reported the Military Times.

In this latest report, blank spaces are left where figures from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria used to be. A disclaimer reads: “With ongoing operations, any questions concerning DoD personnel strength numbers are deferred to OSD Public Affairs/Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

Data has also been scrubbed from the September 2017 report. Before this document was scrubbed, there were almost 26,000 troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria at the last accurate count.

Defense Secretary James Mattis pledged to bring more transparency to reportage of personnel numbers on the ground when he took the position last year. However, the Pentagon has offered no explanation for the data scrubbing, and will still only say that the number of troops in Iraq has not changed in the last year.

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