WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced that the size of the Army is being increased by 22,000 to help meet deployment needs around the world.
Gates made the disclosure Monday at a news conference at the Pentagon where he was joined by the chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen. The Army currently has a total troop strength of 547,000.
Gates said the military, with President Barack Obama's backing, decided that because of the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and political turmoil in Pakistan, the Pentagon's ability to fill vacancies was "at risk."
The announcement was made at a briefing Monday at 2 p.m. Early on, there was no indication of where the troops would be stationed.
An aide to U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston said indications are the additional troops would not have much of an impact at Fort Stewart, which until last month had been preparing to receive as many as 3,500 troops as an additional brigade to the 3rd Infantry Division.
"Right now it looks like Fort Stewart would only see an additional 500 troops at most," Chris Crawford said.
He is an aide to Kingston, whose 1st congressional district includes Fort Stewart and the area surrounding it.