updated 12/14/2004 2:13:26 PM ET 2004-12-14T19:13:26

The Defense Department announced Tuesday which ground units it will be sending to Iraq and Afghanistan starting in mid-2005.

The units, which will deploy between mid-2005 and mid-2006, will maintain the current level of U.S. military presence in each country, military officials said. The regular presence is roughly 138,000 troops in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan; 12,000 more are being sent to Iraq to provide security for elections.

The units going to Iraq during the rotation beginning next year include:

  • 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Ky.
  • 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • 48th Infantry Brigade of the Georgia Army National Guard.
  • 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, N.Y.
  • 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan.
  • 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

The units going to Afghanistan include:

  • 3rd and 4th Brigades, plus the headquarters, of the 10th Mountain.
  • Headquarters element, 53rd Infantry Brigade, Florida National Guard.

High election deployment separate
The announcement was unrelated to the Defense Department’s decision to increase the presence of U.S. troops during the Iraqi election period to about 150,000, the highest level of the war.

Much of that build-up will be accomplished by extending tours for more than 10,000 soldiers who had been due to leave Iraq in the coming months. The extension means those troops will now serve an average of 14 months in Iraq, two to four months longer than originally expected.

The previous high for the U.S. force in Iraq was 148,000 on May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations were over and most soldiers thought the war had been won. The initial invasion force included thousands of sailors on ships in the Persian Gulf and other waters, in addition to tens of thousands of forces in Kuwait and other surrounding countries.

NBC’s Scott Foster contributed to this report.

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