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Dude Where’s My Troops? Pentagon Loses Track Of 44,000 Soldiers

The Stripes article opens with a line that would seem straight out of the Onion, yet matter-of-factly states, “The U.S. military has more than 44,000 troops across the globe that the Pentagon claims it cannot track, according to a recent report.”

The Pentagon’s system for accounting troop deployment numbers, maintained by the Defense Manpower Data Center under the Office of the Secretary of Defense, lists up to 44,000 troops in a country location category labeled “Unknown”. 

The report has come to light after a series of recent Pentagon press briefings on military actions in the Middle East and Africa which left journalists scratching their heads. For example the latest DoD admission that there are “about 2,000 troops in Syria” – four times the previously acknowledged figure – came after a late October Pentagon presser wherein an Army spokesman told reporters that 4,000 troops were deployed to Syria, after which he awkwardly walked back the statement less than 30 seconds later, saying “I’m sorry I mispoke there – there are approximately 500 troops in Syria”.

And when news broke of the October 4 ambush and deaths of four elite Green Beret soldiers in Niger, the immediate reaction voiced among congressional leaders and echoed generally in the media was: “we have troops in Niger?” – after which it came to light that the US has at least 6,000 military personnel spread across the African continent, though few knew of AFRICOM’s (US Africa Command) dangerously burgeoning number of undisclosed daily missions. 



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