As the U.S. military's time in Iraq ticks down, the number of troops there has dwindled to about 8,000, and they are scattered across just five bases _ 500 fewer installations that at the war's peak in 2007.
American troops are scheduled to be out of Iraq by the end of the year, transitioning security to Iraqi security forces. Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, deputy commander for operations in Iraq, says the main challenges facing the Iraqis involve logistics for the police force and their overall ability to share intelligence.
He also says that he is "fairly confident" that Iraqi forces will be able to provide security for U.S. diplomatic consulates and facilities in Baghdad, Irbil, Kirkuk and Basra.
Helmick was speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via teleconference from Iraq.