Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller revealed on Tuesday the Department of Defense will be withdrawing additional U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan before Inauguration Day.
Miller, who just recently replaced previous Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, said the planned withdrawal of 2,500 service members by January 15, 2021 is not new and it is in accordance with Trump's administration to bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a "successful" and "responsible" close.
"It does not equate to change in U.S. policy or objectives. Moreover, this decision by the President is based on continuous engagement with his national security cabinet over the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States government," Miller explained. "I have also spoken with our military commanders and we all execute this repositioning in a way that protects our fighting men and women, our partners in the intelligence community and diplomatic corps, and our superb allies that are critical to rebuilding Afghan and Iraqi security capabilities and civil society for a lasting peace in troubled lands."
Miller said he has already spoken with NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg and Afghanistan President Ghani about their withdrawal plans.
"Let us remind those who question our resolve or may seek to interfere with this prudent, well planned, and coordinated transition, the United States' armed forces remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the American people and supporting our like-minded allies and partners worldwide," he added.
While not a full troop withdrawal, this appears to be Trump's final steps to fulfill his campaign promise of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been ongoing since 2001.