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Bush to Announce Shorter Deployments

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

It's proving equally hard to know when the U.S. can back off its troop commitments. The commanding general said this week that he doesn't know when he'll be able to make the next round of withdrawals, but some American forces are coming home now, and that helped to make it possible for President Bush to schedule an announcement today.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

With the U.S. military under slightly less pressure, the Pentagon is expected to shorten overseas deployments. They'd been lengthened to 15 months, and troops serving now in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere will likely finish that period. But starting this summer, troops sent overseas could stay for the more customary 12 months.

It's a big step for military families worried about staying together, and it's important to Pentagon officials worried about keeping their most experienced troops. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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