Mattis Plans To Unleash An 'Annihilation Campaign' On ISIS

news
Photo via DoD

The noose is tightening around ISIS’s neck — and Secretary of Defense James Mattis has a plan to finish the job.


Speaking at the Pentagon on Friday, Mattis announced that President Donald Trump had ordered DoD officials to conduct an “accelerated operation” against ISIS, focused on “encircling” ISIS fighters in the strongholds, before executing major ground and air strikes against militant targets, Reuters reports.

"[Trump] directed a tactical shift, from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight, to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS," Mattis told reporters Friday.

The shift in tactics has reportedly accelerated ISIS’s decline by “leaving the beleaguered fighters with no avenue of escape,” preventing dispersed ISIS forces from simply regrouping elsewhere in the region for a renewed campaign against the U.S.-led coalition, the Washington Examiner reported.

"The foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit. Wherever," Mattis said. "By taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don't simply transplant this problem from one location to another."

Mattis’ announcement comes amid news that the ISIS fighters, who have endured a months-long siege in the strategically important Iraqi city of Mosul, are reportedly on “the brink of defeat,” as Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman and U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian put it during a news conference in Baghdad.

It’s not yet clear how this change will affect the size and scope of U.S. troop deployments to Iraq and Syria.

Shortly after Mattis said that U.S. government would continue to support Iraqi security forces, the Army announced plans to deploy 250 soldiers from the III Corps Headquarters at Fort Hood to Iraq and Kuwait as part of OIR.

Mattis said that he had yet to make a recommendation to Trump regarding U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, but would consult with Trump on the matter “soon.”

In May, DoD officials announced their intent to request Trump order the deployment of between 3,000 and 5,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan to help break the “stalemate” with Taliban forces.

The next week, the Washington Post reported that the White House’s decision on troop levels would depend on the number of NATO forces the organization plans on committing to the 16-year campaign in the country.

Speaking in Brussels on May 17, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that NATO “will continue with a fairly modest contribution in the near term and that political leadership in the coming months will discuss the potential for NATO assuming a greater responsibility in Iraq.”

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less