U.S. Replaces Generals Ahead of Troops Decision

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Adm. William Fallon has been named as the new head of U.S. Central Command, the post that oversees U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is filling the opening left by Gen. John Abizaid.

U.S. ground operations in Iraq also have a new commander: Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who will take over for Gen. George W. Casey.

The replacement of two top officers comes one week before President Bush is expected to unveil his new Iraq strategy.

Military officers are quietly preparing options to boost troop levels in Iraq, including accelerating and extending both Marine and Army units in Iraq. The increase to as many as 15,000 to 20,000 additional troops could start as early as next month and continue through the spring.

The expected increase has divided Republicans and Democrats in Congress. It has also left some in the military skeptical.



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