When the Pentagon wants to mislead the public about where US troops are, generally speaking, they just lie. Yet sometimes the number of troops is just too big to claim as a rounding error, and questions start happening.
This week, the focus is on over 44,000 US military personnel deployed to "unknown," which immediately raises red flags, because that's not a place. Pentagon officials, however, say there is "no good way" to describe where they are.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning, on the one hand, presented this as an "operational security" and "denying the enemy any advantage," including, it seems providing any specifics on who "the enemy" at this point even is.
At the same time, Manning presented this as simply a limitation of the Pentagon's current capabilities, and that there is literally "no personnel system" in the Pentagon that tracks where everyone is, and they just stick everyone else in "unknown" so the number of troops they officially have balances out with the number of troops deployed in actual, real places.