Carter Convenes Counter
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL
Coalition Meeting at Andrews
By Jim Garamone, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DOD
News) — July 20, 2016 — Coalition partners are looking for ways to build on
the momentum of the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant campaign as
they meet at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, today.
Defense Secretary Carter, right, walks with French Defense Minister Le Drian during a meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter convened the meeting to
discuss the counter-ISIL campaign and to formulate ways to accelerate the defeat
of the terrorist group.
This is a “critically important time for our counter-ISIL
military campaign,” Carter said.
“Thanks to this global coalition, our clear and deliberate
campaign plan, our dedicated local partner forces, and the sacrifices of our
militaries’ members,” he added, “we now have momentum in this fight and clear
results on the ground.”
The coalition campaign is working to fight ISIL in Iraq and
Syria where the group’s leaders declared a caliphate, Carter said. Another
objective is to combat ISIL elsewhere in the world. The final objective is to
protect coalition homelands.
The Andrews meeting is an update to the Coalition Military
Campaign Plan leaders agreed to in January, the secretary said.
“Our campaign’s strategic approach is to identify and enable
capable and motivated local forces who can deliver ISIL a lasting defeat,”
Carter said. “Only local forces can deliver and sustain such a defeat by holding
and governing territory after it has been retaken from ISIL.”
There has been much progress since last year when Army Lt.
Gen. Sean MacFarland became the overall operational commander for Inherent
Resolve, the secretary said.
The campaign set in motion a series of specific and
deliberate steps that the coalition had to accomplish to put ISIL on a path to a
lasting defeat, Carter said.
“And since then -- play by play, town after town, from every
direction and in every domain -- our campaign has accelerated further, squeezing
ISIL and rolling it back towards Raqqa and Mosul,” he said. “We’re isolating
those two cities and effectively setting the stage to collapse ISIL’s control
In Iraq, the coalition effort enables Iraqi forces led by
Prime Minister Haidar Abadi and the Peshmerga supported by Kurdish Regional
President Masoud Barzani. After clearing Ramadi, the Iraqi security forces moved
on to liberate Hit, Rutbah, and Fallujah.
“Early last week, they seized the strategically important
Qayyarah West airfield, which is a critical logistical springboard for the
effort to collapse ISIL’s control of Mosul,” Carter said.
The coalition is also seeing results in Syria, the secretary
said. After seizing Shaddadi -- a crucial junction on the road between Mosul and
Raqqa -- indigenous partners on the ground have now surrounded the city of
Manbij, one of the last junctions connecting Raqqa to the outside world.
Coalition efforts have been aimed at systematically
eliminating key ISIL leaders and the group’s financial base. “Wherever our local
partners have moved -- whether in Anbar, Ninewah or Manbij -- we have taken out
ISIL’s field commanders,” Carter said. “Meanwhile, we’re continuing attacks on
ISIL’s economic infrastructure -- from oil wells and trucks to cash storage
sites. And we’re taking the fight to ISIL across all domains, including cyber.”
Intensifying the Campaign
Now is not a time to rest, Carter said. Army Gen. Joseph L.
Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, will brief defense leaders during
the meeting on what is needed to intensify the campaign.
“We’ll identify the capabilities and support required to
execute those next plays,” Carter said.
“Today, we’ll identify both our enduring and emerging
requirements and review our detailed metrics matrix of national contributions --
going through it row by row, column and column, and country by country,” he said.
“We must ensure that our partners on the ground have what they need to win the
fight and then hold, rebuild and govern their territory.”
Carter said the coalition also needs to address the influence
of ISIL outside Iraq and Syria.
“Today, we’ll also discuss how we can continue to combat ISIL
wherever it might attempt to take hold and how our military campaign can best
support our national governments’ efforts to protect our respective homelands
and people,” he said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews).
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