http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usatoday/20040406/ts_usatoday/pentagondelaysustroopstriphome&e=3 Since the war began a year ago, senior military leaders have given frequent assurances to troops and their families that Iraq duty would be no longer than a year. Now, those assurances have met the reality of Iraq, where military leaders are planning for the possibility that anti-U.S. violence will spread. U.S. troops are stretched thin around the world, and the Pentagon has few options to increase the force in Iraq if necessary. On Monday, a senior official with U.S. Central Command said that the return home of about 24,000 U.S. troops who were scheduled to leave in the next few weeks would be delayed as their replacements arrive. Central Command's responsibility includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites). With the 24,000 remaining and others who have arrived as intended replacements, there are 134,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The senior official spoke to reporters at the Pentagon by phone from Central Command in Tampa. He gave the briefing on the condition that he not be identified. Defense officials did not say how much beyond a year some troops would stay, but they discussed the deployment in the context of reducing the current violence in Iraq in the weeks leading up to June 30, when Iraqis will regain their sovereignty from the United States. The United States will maintain a military presence after Iraq resumes self-rule.