Iraq's Probably Going to Need Help Taking Back Its Country

Hagel and Dempsey spoke to the media Thursday. Hagel and Dempsey spoke to the media Thursday. Defense Department

While initial U.S. assessments suggest that Iraq's security forces are able to defend Baghdad, what about taking back parts of the country that have been lost to insurgents?

Well, the Pentagon believes Iraq will likely need some help with that.

"I think that's a really broad, campaign-quality question. Probably not by themselves," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked about the ability of Iraqi security forces to retake territory captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The United States has roughly 650 troops in Iraq. It has also sent planes and ships into the region since the crisis began. ISIS, for its part, declared its territory in Iraq and Syria to be an Islamic state, but Dempsey said he believes their forces are currently stretched thin as they try to maintain their gains. 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday during the joint briefing that U.S. troops currently in Iraqaren't involved in combat missions—and won't be involved in combat missions. But Dempsey seemed to leave the door open, saying that "we may get to that point" when U.S. troops have direct military involvement in Iraq.

"That is one option, but one I personally don't think [is what] the situation demands," he added, stressing that the current U.S. strategy isn't the same as in 2003 and 2006—when the U.S. invaded Iraq and in the lead-up to the surge of U.S. troops, respectively.

In the meantime, the United States is still trying to get a full picture of what is going on in Iraq. Imagine trying to solve a Rubik's Cube without being able to see all of the sides.

Leading that effort is the Pentagon, which has six assessment teams in Iraq. It also has two joint operations centers there—one in Baghdad and a second in Erbil, a large city in northern Iraq.

And although the Pentagon's top duo are getting early assessments, Hagel said, we "won't have the full complement of all those assessments for a while.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.