Iraqi troops are being trained as rapidly as possible to take over security duties and move toward a US withdrawal, a White House spokesman said on Wednesday.
"The most important thing is, our forces are doing everything they can to help Iraq get trained up as quickly as possible, period," spokesman Tony Snow told reporters.
The White House official would not say whether President George W Bush is happy with the progress made. "The president -- satisfied or dissatisfied, they're moving as quickly as they can."
The administration and its supporters have cited preparedness of Iraqi troops as a benchmark for reducing the US troops presence, three years after the US-led invasion.
"As you know, we have embedded teams working with training of mid-level officers to, in fact, become capable of serving as unit commanders in Iraq," Snow said.
On Tuesday, Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey, who is responsible for building Iraq's security forces, said they will not become capable of fully independent operations for some time.
The strength of the Iraqi security forces, however, is central to the US strategy for reducing the US force in Iraq, which currently numbers about 127,000.
The White House acknowledged this week that it is considering a reported plan to reduce US combat forces in Iraq by some 30,000 by the end of 2007 as Iraqi forces assume more responsibility for security.