WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq has drafted plans to reduce the U.S. military presence in Iraq starting this September, The New York Times reported.
Gen. George W. Casey Jr. discussed the plan during a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week, the newspaper said -- projecting that the number of American combat brigades in Iraq would decrease to five or six from the current level of 14 by December 2007.
The plan calls for rotating two combat brigades out of Iraq in September without replacing them, the Times reported.
Military officials typically do not characterize reductions by total troop numbers, but by brigades. Combat brigades -- which usually have about 3,500 troops -- do not make up the bulk of the 127,000-member American force in Iraq, the newspaper said.
Rumsfeld told reporters Thursday that no final decisions would come on troop withdrawals until Casey consulted with the new Iraqi government.