The number-two U.S. commander in Iraq says the military should be able to draw down forces at a slow but consistent pace as security conditions improve.
Army Lieutenant General Ray Odierno says he thinks Iraqi forces will be able to take over security much more quickly than they have suggested.
Still, he says American air support and ground troops will likely have to stay for another five or ten years.
Odierno says officials don't want to suddenly pull out "a whole bunch of U.S. forces" and turn things over to Iraqi security forces.
Odierno's comments come after Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed hope that the pace of troop drawdowns will keep up through the second half of the year.
Odierno says that depends on the results of withdrawals under way right now.