Thursday, June 7, 2007

Turning the Tables

Some important data in the Brookings' Iraq Index only appears in tables (e.g. the prison population data we mentioned in the previous post). Troop strength for US forces and for other Coalition forces may be interest now because of the "surge" in in US Forces that is now reaching its stated goals. However, the troop strength trend data in the most recent report is tabular.

So we turned the tables and transformed it into a small CSV file and created some new charts (see below) using the TLViz interactive trend visualization tool.

If you would like to take a look at the CSV file yourself, you can download it from Troop Strength Table. This table includes three original trends from the Brookings' table (US Troop Strength, Other Coalition Troop Strength, and Total Coalition Force Troop Strength). To that, we have added two calculated trends. The first shows Other Coalition Troop Strength as percentage of Total Troop Strength. The second shows the ratio of US Troop Strength to a nominal value of 135,000.

If you haven't already tried out the TLViz tool that runs on Microsoft Windows as a way for looking at two dimensional tables of trend data, here's another chance. Get started by downloading the base kit. Once you have installed the base kit, you can grab the latest version of TLViz.

If you want to learn more about TLViz, check out some of our earlier posts on the subject starting in chronological order with the ones from early January.

This first chart shows a sharp downtrend in other Coalition forces dropping in half from 25,000 to 12,000 since January 2005.

This chart shows US Troop strength from the beginning of the war. While the uptick since January is sharp, the current level of US troops is not far from the middle of the range it has been operating in for the past 3 years.

This is a chart using the calculated value showing the Other Coalition forces as a percentage of total troop strength. There has been a sharp decline over the past 3 years from a maximum of 17 percent down to the current value of approximately 7.5%.

This is another calculated chart showing how US troop strength has fluctuated around the 135,000 mark for the past few years. The current peak is lower than the two previous peaks.

The final chart shows total coalition forces in Iraq over the past 4 years. The current value of 160,000 looks like it is right in the middle of the operational range for this factor since the beginning of the war.

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