A recent report indicates that the Pentagon will be looking to increase its budget for fiscal year 2017 in order to further pursue its campaign against ISIS.
According to a report from Reuters, U.S. officials have mentioned President Barack Obama’s administration plans to increase funding to help military forces battle ISIS. The fiscal 2017 Pentagon budget is expected to require more than $7 billion in anti-ISIS campaign funds, which reflects an approximate 35-percent increase to previous budget request to Congress. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter looks to discuss his spending priorities during an address to the Economic Club of Washington, where he shall be presenting his $583 billion defense budget for 2017.
The country is currently engaged in Operation Inherent Resolve to fight and obliterate ISIS everywhere in the world, starting with its strongholds in Syria and Iraq. This operation is also carried out in cooperation with various coalition forces from Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
The Pentagon reports that continuous airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria have been “wearing down” ISIS forces. Since its first airstrike last August 2014, coalition forces have gone on to launch more than 10,000 airstrikes, two-thirds of which were done in Iraq while a third was conducted in Syria. In Iraq, the campaign further gained ground when it successfully managed to liberate the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State. Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland refers to the recapture of Ramadi as “a turning point in this campaign.”
Aside from airstrikes, the coalition forces have also worked on training Iraqi soldiers and local police to fight ISIS. To date, more than 17,500 Iraqi soldiers and 2,000 police have already received training while more than 3,000 police and soldiers are currently being trained in coalition training sites. Moreover, the Syrian Democratic Forces have also been instrumental in holding the Islamic State back.
With regards to Pentagon’s new budget request of over $7 billion to fight ISIS, it remains to be seen if the budget will continue to be utilized for the campaign in Iraq and Syria or outside the ISIS strongholds. Secretary Carter had once spoken about the need to deliver a “final defeat” to the Islamic State.