The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, led a secret war game earlier this month to assess the Obama administration's options in Afghanistan, including a 44,000-troop surge. A team of military leaders used Gen. Stanley McChrystal's analysis to examine how Taliban insurgents and the Afghan and Pakistani governments would respond to several scenarios. The Pentagon did not endorse any one strategy, but sent the results to President Obama and Defense Secretary Bob Gates.
The exercise compared two possible routes: either a massive surge or a smaller increase in troops that would focus on counterterrorism more than military success. Mullen led the secret game as debate over the future of the American mission continues to divide the administration. Officials tell the Washington Post that Obama may settle on a plan soon but will delay announcing it until the second round of Afghanistan's presidential election, scheduled for Nov. 7.