The United States military is leaving Iraq per the 2008 bi-lateral security agreement. It is a monumental task, and must be completed by Dec. 31, 2011. Major General Thomas Spoehr, United States Forces – Iraq, Deputy Commanding General for Support, briefed reporters on Thursday about the progress to date.
Bases and personnel
* 505 U.S. bases have now been reduced to 22, with the remainder turned over to the Iraqis
* 4 of the 12 largest bases have been transitioned to Iraqi control
* 165,000 military personnel reduced to just over 41,000
* less than 41,000 contractors still employed
Waste and scrap
* 362 areas of concern have been identified for additional cleanup as of September 24
* 6.8 million pounds of scrap have been sold to Iraqis in October 2011
* 142 million pounds of scrap have been sold to the Iraqis and other purchasers since January 2010.
Spoehr told reporters that each base is inspected by environmental transition teams before being transitioned to Iraqi control. Any dumps or waste sites are part of that inspection.
* 1.6 million pieces of equipment have been returned to the United States
* 788,000 pieces of equipment remain, including 23,000 wheeled
* 3.4 million pieces of equipment have been turned over to Iraqi control through the Foreign Excess Personal Property program (FEPP)
* $600 million in shipping costs have been saved by transfers through FEPP
* $40,000 is the average cost to ship one container from Iraq to the United States
* 1,100 pieces of equipment have been purchased at 50 percent of its value by various U.S. states
* 31,000 pieces of equipment and 10,000 vehicles have been shipped to other locations within Central Command
Central Command and the State Department in Iraq have priority on available equipment. If the equipment is not required by either of them, it is shipped to the U.S. or turned over to the Iraqis. The FEPP equipment, MG Spoehr explained, is equipment such as generators, air conditioners, forklifts and other similar items. These items are in working condition, but the costs of shipping them to the U.S. exceed their present value.
The general described the process of moving the equipment out of Iraq as “achieving a velocity” that was unheard of at the time of the First Gulf War. Equipment is pre-sorted by type before being loaded into containers in Iraq. Technology is key to the process. Contents are recorded on computer and items are given RFID tags. Scanners along the highways in Iraq and Kuwait record the location of the shipments and provide the drivers with the location in Kuwait where the containers are to be delivered.