Gen. Ray Odierno, whom Pentagon officials confirm is expected to leave Iraq after the drawdown, would not address reports about his departure, calling them "very speculative." But he expressed optimism about the course of the U.S. withdrawal and the ability of the Iraqi government and security forces to fend for themselves.
Odierno currently is leading 95,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, but said he expects to cut that number in half by the end of the summer in accordance with an agreement with the Iraqi government. That plan would leave 50,000 non-combat servicemembers to "advise and assist" the Iraqi forces.
"Our plans are intact. I feel very comfortable with our plan and unless something unforeseen and disastrous happens, I fully expect us to be at 50,000 by the first of September," Odierno said.
He also shot down speculation that the United States may try to renegotiate the terms of the agreement that calls for all U.S. troops to be out of Iraq by 2011.
"There is no move by the United States to renegotiate the security agreement. We are bound by that," he said. However, he said if the Iraqi government wants the United States to stay longer, "then we'll see."
Pentagon officials confirmed to Fox News a week ago that Odierno, the longest-serving general in the Iraq war, is scheduled to rotate out of the country at the end of the summer. The move is considered a normal rotation and officials said he is not being pushed out.
Odierno would not address the terms of his departure Sunday.
"As far as I know, I will be here for the next several months at least," he said. "Nobody has contacted me yet about leaving."
Odierno, who's spent 18 months as top commander in Iraq, is expected to take over Joint Forces Command, which trains forces from all branches of the military to work together.
Plans for his replacement are not final, but one official said Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin is considered the front-runner for his job. Austin has served under Odierno in Iraq and currently is working with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.