Officials say Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signed the first orders deploying troops to Afghanistan under President Barack Obama's new surge strategy.
The defense and military officials say Gates signed orders for the first group of Marines and soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan as part of Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
The officials say the orders represent more than half the total approved by Obama. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the orders are being conveyed to troops over the weekend. An announcement is planned for Monday.
The orders signed Friday cover forces deploying over the coming two to three months.