US soldiers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan will be facing the extended 15-month deployments until at least next June, a top Army commander said Tuesday.
Commanders are assessing the situation on the ground now, but Gen. Richard Cody, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, said it will take until at least June to shrink average deployments back to 12 months while maintaining the 158,000 troops now deployed in the region.
"It's going to take a while to get off the 15 months," he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.
A decision on when to begin scaling back the longer deployments will depend on when President George W. Bush and military commanders believe they can begin to pull back troops, he said. But once a decision is made, he cautioned, "We cannot automatically revert to 12 months. This is a river that's flowing."