[…] The administration’s decision to stop publishing troop numbers ended a decade-long policy of transparency started in the George W Bush administration. In December 2017, the Pentagon’s defence manpower data centre published its quarterly report with blank spaces where troop numbers in combat zones would normally be. Corresponding figures for Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan were also stripped retroactively from the previously released September report.
The decision to remove the data from the Pentagon website was the initiative of former defence secretary James Mattis, according to retired army Lt General Thomas Spoehr. […]
“Of all the things that DoD has done to limit public access to information, this is probably the most egregious,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists government secrecy project. “The idea that the scale of the US military presence in a war zone should be kept secret from the public is a mistake. That’s not how democracies fight or win wars.” Läs artikel