Nearly 600 detainees will get their cases heard soon, senior defence officials told the Washington Times on Saturday.

Navy Secretary Gordon England was quoted as saying each tribunal is "not a trial," but rather "an administrative process," with expectations that 90% of the detainees will participate.

England hopes the tribunal system will allow for 72 hearings weekly, the newspaper said.

News of the upcoming tribunals came as the Pentagon, which is embroiled in a scandal over prisoner abuse in Iraq, announced it would form a new office to coordinate detainee policy and ensure Red Cross reports are seen at high levels.