I'm just wondering if the word "troops" always refers to a group.
I thought that it did, and the dictionary seems to confirm that, but I've heard many news broadcasts lately where they use "troops" referring to individual soldiers. I'm thinking, if CNN is saying it that way, I must be wrong.
Sorry if you've already discussed this, but I couldn't find anthing on it.
A troop is a group of soldiers. Troops could be either the individual soldiers within the troop or a group of more than one troop. Troops when used to refer to individual soldiers within a troop may be an abbreviation of trooper(s)
CNN might say; American troops came under fire (meaning a group) or 3 British troops were killed today or a British troop was injured. I suppose the context helps to identify wkether it is singular or plural.
If you 'Google' troop, troops, you will find this subject widely discussed. Heres one to get you started
The Grammarphobia Blog: On "troop" and "troops"