Dempsey to discuss withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan with NATO defense chiefs

Senior defense official: "They didn

From Kevin Baron, E-Ring:  When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey faces 60 other defense chiefs from NATO and its partner nations next week in Brussels, he’ll likely have to answer for one new development: the "zero option."

White House national security staffers, to much surprise, floated to the press this week that they had requested, and the Pentagon delivered, plans for leaving no U.S. troops behind in Afghanistan after 2014. It was a far cry from the pledges that President Barack Obama asked NATO allies to make at the Chicago summit last May, and on which foreign defense chiefs largely delivered with pledges of thousands of troops and billions of dollars for years to come in Afghanistan.  

"They didn’t know," the zero option was coming, a senior defense official tells the E-Ring. Now Dempsey expects that issue will the main concern for military leaders at the usually un-newsworthy event. . . .

Dempsey will attend the two-day winter conference with the chiefs of defense (known as CHODs) starting Wednesday. Gen. John Allen, commander of International Security Assitance Force, also will be in Brussels to brief the NATO chiefs. 

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