CHICAGO- Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Chief of Staff of U.S. Forces-Iraq, served as the guest speaker during a luncheon hosted by The Union League Club of Chicago, in partnership with the National Strategy Forum Jan. 19.

Anderson provided a first-hand account of the progress being achieved and the future of U.S. Forces in Iraq.

Some of the goals the U.S. sees for Iraq is for a sovereign, stable and self-reliant country, an Iraqi government that is reliant and just, as well as a continuing partnership that contributes to the peace and security of the country.

"The Iraq embassy is the leading political and economical arena for the region," Anderson said. "Our partnership is with the largest embassy in the world and we are the lead security in the arena for this region."

Under the Presidential Guidance, Anderson is preparing for the end of combat operations in Iraq by August of 2010 and training the Iraqi Security Force in protecting their country.

During his presentation, the general addressed the reduction of the force in Iraq. Currently, there are about 111,000 service members in Iraq. Upon the completion of the elections, the number will fall below the 100,000 mark in May. The U.S. plans to have only 6 brigades and 50,000 troops by the end of 2010. The Presidential Guidance is to remove all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.

Anderson credits great leadership and experience for the success of the current mission accomplishments in Iraq. "We have phenomenal soldiers and leaders from not only the Army but from all of the services." "Many people have served multiple tours, very experienced, very capable in the best Army we ever had," he added.

The Union League Club is one of the leading organizations that support the military. He enjoys the support service members receive from the club along with the USO and the American Legion and other sub-charter organizations.

"It is a very generous club and there are many benefactors to this organization," Anderson said. "I don't know about any other club in my 28 years in the Army that does what this club does."