The U.S. Pentagon denied Wednesday that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has decided to suspend the planned troop reduction plan for U.S. forces in Europe.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said there is no decision yet from Gates on the issue, contradicting an earlier news report.
Previously, the Pentagon had said the defense secretary is "inclined to" approve the suspension of troop reduction as proposed by senior U.S. military leaders in Europe.
The news report, appeared in Wednesday's the New York Times, said Gates has frozen plans for further reducing forces in Europe and will maintain about 40,000 soldiers in Germany and Italy.
That will be nearly twice as many as had been envisioned under a draw down that began two years ago.
The number of U.S. Army troops in Europe has already fallen to 43,000 from 62,000 two years ago under a plan signed by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary.
That plan had been described as the most significant rearrangement of the American military since the Cold War, calling for the number of Army troops in Europe to be cut to about 24,000 by the end of 2008.