Cliff Owen, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this March 16, 2011 file photo, Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Obama administration is preparing to begin talks with Iraq on defining a long-term defense relationship that may include expanded U.S. training help, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s chief policy aide. Flournoy, who is leaving her Pentagon post to return to private life, said in an interview with a small group of reporters that the administration is open to Iraqi suggestions about the scope and depth of defense ties. "One of the things we’re looking forward to doing is sitting down with the Iraqis in the coming month or two to start thinking about how they want to work with" the U.S. military to develop a program of exercises, training and other forms of security cooperation, Flournoy said.

WASHINGTON — A top Pentagon official says the Obama administration expects to begin talks soon with Iraq on how to arrange a long-term security relationship.

Michele Flournoy (floor-noy), the top policy aide to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, said in an interview that the talks are expected to start in a month or two.

The U.S. military completed its troop withdrawal in December. Unresolved is the question of what U.S.-Iraqi security ties will look like in the future, and whether Iraq can defend itself without more robust military assistance.

Flournoy spoke to reporters last week; she's stepping down from her post Friday.