The Insider

Mattis outlines new counter-ISIS tactics

May 19, 2017 |
Tony Bertuca
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis provided new information today on the campaign to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying the U.S. military's role in the fight will end when local police are capable of managing the threat in the region.

“You've got to drive them down to a point police can handle it. Police can't handle a force that's driving tanks,” Mattis said during a Pentagon press conference.

Mattis described the tactical shift in the campaign authorized by President Trump, which includes new engagement authorities for commanders on the ground and new operations aimed at surrounding ISIS in existing strongholds to prevent the flow of foreign fighters.

“It is a change in tactics that we now surround these locations, these concentrations of [the] enemy,” he said. “No longer will we have slow decision cycles because Washington, DC, has to authorize tactical movements on the ground.”

Mattis, who was flanked by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joe Dunford and Brett McGurk, the  U.S. special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS, said the United States continues to execute a “whole of government” approach to destabilize ISIS militarily and financially. 

“We are leading a comprehensive campaign,” he said. “This threat is a long-term threat.”

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