President Barack Obama, in a meeting with his top national security advisers, asked the Pentagon to do whatever additional planning is necessary to "execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq".
Obama's statement, issued by the White House after the gathering on Wednesday, opened his much-anticipated effort to withdraw troops more swiftly than the previous administration had proposed. It made no reference to any timeline or his campaign vow to get combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months.
"The meeting was productive and I very much appreciated receiving assessments from these experienced and dedicated individuals," Obama said. "During the discussion, I asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq."
He added that he would soon travel to the Pentagon and meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the schedule is not confirmed, said that meeting with the Joint Chiefs, the president's senior uniformed military advisers would come within a week.
"We will undertake a full review of the situation in Afghanistan in order to develop a comprehensive policy for the entire region," Obama said.
Yesterday's strategy session included Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, both critics of the management of the war. Officials familiar with the meeting declined to disclose details of what was discussed.