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The Pentagon's Own Airstrike Data Doesn't Show Any ISIS 'Defeat' Whatsoever
Reports of ISIS's demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to airstrike data released by Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve on Friday.
- From Dec. 16 to Dec. 29, coalition aircraft conducted 469 airstrikes 'consisting of 1,001 engagements" against ISIS targets in Syria, according to a CJTF-OIR release published on Jan. 4.
- Those strikes "engaged 666 ISIS tactical units, and destroyed 291 fighting positions, 153 staging areas, 67 supply routes, 27 command and control nodes, 27 petroleum oil lubricant storage facilities, 25 vehicles, 14 tunnels, 14 weapons cache, [and] 13 improvised explosive device facilities," among other ISIS infrastructure.
- According to the latest summary of U.S. air power under OIR published on Oct. 31, those two weeks appear to capture the tail-end of a ramp-up in airstrikes, which rose from a record low of 241 weapons released in July 2018 to 876 in October 2018 after a steady decline from a record high of 5,075 weapons released in August 2017.
- This apparent uptick in strikes coincided with President Donald Trump's Dec. 19 declaration that "we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency" as cause for the rapid U.S. withdrawal from the war-torn country.
- According to Pentagon data released as part of an August Inspector General report for Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Pacific Eagle–Philippines, ISIS had an estimated 14,000 fighters in Syria remaining in Syria despite its ouster from its regional stronghold in Raqqa in October 2017.
- On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham indicated that Trump's planned withdrawal was almost certainly not happening anymore. "He promised to destroy ISIS. He's going to keep that promise," he said. "We're not there yet, but as I said today, we're inside the 10-yard line and the president understands the need to finish the job."
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year
The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.