The U.S. and coalition forces believe that the next step in ensuring the defeat of ISIS is to take the fight to the ground. For this to work, the coalition’s new military campaign plan involves putting boots on the ground in the form of special forces.
According to the Pentagon, special forces will need to be utilized by the coalition among other capabilities in order to be able to motivate local forces to defeat ISIS on the ground. According to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, special operators are “generating a cycle of actions” to help them assist local forces in flushing out ISIS with “new tactical and operational ideas.” They are providing “training, advice and assistance in modern warfare, including engineering and logistics.”
In conjunction with sending special forces, the secretary also said that the US and its ally forces will continue to conduct air strikes while also utilizing intelligence, cyber tools, equipment, assistance as well as mobility and logistics. The campaign will first concentrate its forces in Raqqah in Syria as well as in Mosul in Iraq where the primary aim to “collapse ISIS control.” Afterwards, coalition forces will “engage in elimination operations” to take out ISIS strongholds in other parts of both Syria and Iraq.
Secretary Carter said that he doesn’t expect defeating ISIS to be easy. He likened the Islamic State to a cancer that is “threatening to spread.” Hence, stopping ISIS doesn’t just mean destroying the group in both Syria and ISIS. Rather, the coalition forces also intend to fight off other ISIS “clones” around the world while also protecting other countries from future attacks from extremist organizations.
Air strikes conducted by the U.S. and various members of the coalition recently have managed to his ISIS facilities, headquarters, oil production and finances. The goal remains the same: to deliver ISIS “a lasting defeat.”