WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. military will reduce the number of troops in Iraq this month as violence has dropped and Iraqi security forces have shown vast improvements, senior military officials told CNN Wednesday.
The military said it is sending home two brigades and not replacing one of them this month, dropping the number of brigades in Iraq from 15 to 14. A brigade has about 3,000 troops.
There are currently about 152,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
The 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division was scheduled to leave Iraq in February 2009, but a late November departure will cut short by two months its 15-month tour.
The second unit, the 3rd Brigade of the 101st, is scheduled to leave this month and will not be replaced, according to Pentagon officials.
Army officials said that several other units will be returning early because of positive security situations on the ground in Iraq. However, current plans are to eventually replace those units, they said.
Early departures and not replacing forces could be the start of a trend that could allow President-elect Barack Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to reduce the number of combat brigades in Iraq by roughly one a month in his first 16 months in office.
(CNN)–After 21 months on the campaign trail, Illinois senator Barack Obama is the nation’s first African-American president-elect. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, voters across the country react to this historic development. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on Obama’s history-making candidacy and his transition to commander-in-chief.
What’s the formula for a successful presidential run? CNN’s Tom Foreman has the answer. Watch him report on the details of Obama’s meteoric rise to political power.
Also: Not all citizens of the world are celebrating Barack Obama’s historic achievement. CNN’s Zain Verjee takes a look at how various countries are reacting to the election of the Democratic senator.
Finally: John McCain has no regrets. And after a crushing defeat, the Arizona senator pledges to help his former rival tackle the nation’s problems. CNN’s Ed Henry breaks down McCain’s concession speech.
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(CNN) - After a nearly two-year campaign for the White House, Barack Obama is likely to spend his first day as president-elect out of view from the public.
He will not hold a press conference, campaign aides told CNN, though he is expected to hold one by the end of the week. Obama had joked with reporters earlier this week he would talk to them on Wednesday, though aides quickly said that was not likely.
Instead, Obama will meet with key advisors and begin making decisions about his transition team, including who will serve as his White House chief of staff. Reports say Obama is close to naming Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel to that post, but that has not been confirmed.
UPDATE: According to the pool report, Obama appears to be staying away from cameras. A scheduled photo-op with his family did not happen, and the president-elect did not take his daughters to school, as Obama aides had suggested he would.
He was spotted making a trip to the gym, and he briefly waved to reporters as his car went by.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama is expected to receive on Thursday his first top secret intelligence briefing similiar to the one provided President Bush each day, according to U.S. officials familiar with the process.
A team of intelligence briefers has been named and is ready to discuss with Sen. Obama the Presidential Daily Brief– the PDB as it is called.
In a message to CIA employees obtained by CNN, CIA Director Michael Hayden said Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell will lead the first briefing of the newly elected President and has designated senior agency officer Michael Morrell to oversee the PDB process during the transition. The two principal briefers for Obama will be CIA career officers.
Each day, the commander in chief receives the PDB. DNI McConnell and other senior national security officers brief President Bush each morning, six days a week, on the most sensitive information affecting the security of the United States. The President learns about the latest threats and what the nation's spies are doing to help protect the nation.