CNN's Barbra Starr cites military officials as stating up to 75,000 troops needed to secure Syrian chemical sites, should the need arise.
The U.S. military has calculated it could take more than 75,000 ground troops to secure Syria's chemical warfare facilities if they were at risk of being looted or left unguarded, CNN has learned.
The conclusion comes from a military analysis of options for Syria that the Department of Defense is preparing for president should he request it, according to a senior U.S. official.
Securing Syria's chemical sites would be "extraordinarily difficult" given the scope of the problem.
While the number is large - nearly as many as are currently serving in Afghanistan - any actual deployment should it ever come to that would undoubtedly be significantly smaller than the planning suggested. U.S. officials continue to insist the American position is to push for a diplomatic solution.