In a statement on Oct. 5, the State Department said security
requirements in Iraq were still under review and the number of estimated
forces could change, Middle East Newsline reported. The department said the 5,000 officers marked an
initial figure that would be gradually reduced.
"We expect this number of security personnel to noticeably decrease in
the following years as security conditions continue to improve, as they have
done steadily since 2007," the State Department said.
In 2012, the State Department was scheduled to take over security
operations in Iraq from the U.S. military. The department's security
responsibility would include U.S. training for Iraqi security forces.
The U.S. security presence would not include thousands of American
military trainers for the Iraq Army. Washington was said to have proposed a
separate training force of at least 3,000
instructors as well as a similar number of support troops.
"Utilizing security personnel to assist U.S. diplomatic security
officials in protecting Americans serving abroad is not a new practice," the
State Department said. "It has been part of civilian operations in Iraq and
elsewhere in the past and is an important component of security operations
at many of our embassies and consulates around the world today."