U.S. Army soldiers assigned to 5-25 Field Artillery, Battery C, 2nd Platoon fires a Howitzer M-777 A2 in support of Iraqi Security Forces near Al Qaim, Iraq, Nov. 07, 2017. WILLIAM GIBSON/U.S.ARMY
By STEPHEN CARLSON, December 7, 2017
WASHINGTON — The U. S. military has more than 44,000 troops across the globe that the Pentagon claims it cannot track, according to a recent report.
“We are not at a point where we can give numbers other than those officially stated,” said Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.
The report — compiled by the Defense Manpower Data Center under the Office of the Secretary of Defense — shows more than 44,000 personnel in a category labeled “Unknown.”
Active-duty military personnel number slightly more than 1.3 million in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, and hundreds of thousands more civilian personnel fall under Defense departments. That number does not include Reserve and National Guard formations that might be active at any particular time.
The United States has military personnel in nearly every country in the world, ranging from two liaison officers in Fiji to tens of thousands from all of the service branches in Japan and Germany, according to the report.
Manning said during a press briefing Wednesday that troop numbers in Syria are about four times higher than reported by the Pentagon, with 2,000 present in the country. He also clarified that there are 5,200 in Iraq, up from about 5,000 reported earlier.
“We seek to balance informing the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage,” Manning said at the briefing.
The Pentagon’s previous number of troops in Syria was 503. Though the additional 1,500 acknowledged Wednesday is small compared to the size of DOD manpower — over 246,000 in California alone according to the data center — such discrepancies could help explain why 44,000 are unaccounted for.