From NBC's Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube
The White House is expected to announce the deployment of more than 10,000 additional U.S. forces to Afghanistan "within the hour," according to Pentagon officials. The Pentagon will follow with details on numbers and identification of troops to be deployed.
The troop deployment to Afghanistan will be announced as a "remissioning," meaning many, if not most, of the forces were already scheduled to deploy to Iraq but will now be diverted to Afghanistan.
That will reportedly include two Marine combat battalions and one Army combat brigade. According to one Pentagon official, because this "remissioning" will, in fact, redirect troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, it will be politically characterized as a "drawdown" of U.S. military forces in Iraq, permitting the White House to claim in this one announcement that President Obama is making good on two campaign promises -- withdrawing forces from Iraq and sending additional forces to Afghanistan.
If he hasn't already, Defense Secretary Gates is expected to sign the deployment order today to send the more than 10,000 U.S. Marines and soldiers to Afghanistan in the spring.
*** UPDATE *** According to senior Pentagon and military officials, President Obama today authorized the deployment of 17,000 additional forces to Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Gates, however, either has or will sign the actual deployment order for 12,000 forces, 8,000 Marines and 4,000 soldiers for Aghanistan.
The deployment order for the additional 4,000, most support personnel, will be signed at a later date when those individual units and troops are identified. The 17,000 number was in one of the earlier orders that was sent up chain of command then back down again a couple weeks ago.