The New York Times is reporting that the Bush administration will present a plan to gradually reduce the U.S. troop presence in Iraq beginning next year.
The Times says the White House will use next month's assessment about the progress in Iraq to unveil the plan. But the report says the reductions will fall far short of the drawdown demanded by congressional opponents of the war.
Quoting anonymous administration officials, the newspaper says the administration will argue that the troop increase ordered by President Bush has succeeded in improving the security situation in Iraq, and has established the conditions for a new approach that will lead to troop cuts.
Officials say the president will not decide how many troops to withdraw from Iraq until General David Petraeus, the American military commander in Iraq, completes an assessment and presents a range of options on the size of the force and the risks associated with lower levels.
The Times says central to the debate is the extent to which American forces can hand over more security missions to Iraqi forces - something many congressional Democrats, as well as members of Mr. Bush's own Republican Party, have been demanding.