ARLINGTON, Va. — The head of U.S. forces in Iraq has created a plan to reduce the number of U.S. brigades in that country from 14 to about 5 by the end of 2007, according to the New York Times.

In the same time period, the number of U.S. bases in Iraq would also shrink from 69 to 11, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper reported that Gen. George Casey, commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, discussed his plan last week in a classified briefing at the Pentagon.

The plan would call for not replacing two brigades slated to rotate out of Iraq in September, the New York Times reported.

Officials refused to say Sunday whether the New York Times story was accurate.

“We cannot confirm an unnamed source’s version of a classified briefing,” a coalition spokesman said in a Sunday e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

Also Sunday, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman reiterated the Defense Department’s position that any adjustment to U.S. troop levels in Iraq would be “conditions-based” and made with consultation with the new Iraqi government.

“Based on ongoing assessments of the conditions on the ground, force levels could go up or down over time in order to meet the evolving requirements for the mission in Iraq,” Whitman said via e-mail.

Casey is expected to make a recommendation on future U.S. troop levels in Iraq after meeting with the new Iraqi government, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday.

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