The fight against ISIS, thus far, has been primarily in the form of bombarding the so-called Islamic State through air strikes. That would’ve been a tad more successful had former President Obama not blocked 75 percent of airstrikes sought against them. “You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us” one pilot complained.
Naturally, that changed when a president with a “bomb the s*** out of them” strategy took office. The second part of Trump’s strategy (“taking the oil”) may not exactly be viable when the offensive on ISIS consists of drone-striking them, but with boots on the ground it could be. But consistent with his leadership style as CEO of America, Trump is delegating that task to General James Mattis.
According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, President Donald Trump has delegated authority to decide troop levels in the fight against ISIS to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Mattis will now be allowed to set U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Syria in accordance with mission needs. Mattis’s new authority also comes after the Pentagon’s late March decision to no longer announce how many troops are headed to the ISIS fight.
“It’s about capabilities not numbers,” CENTCOM spokesman Army Col. John Thomas told reporters at the time.
“Restoring FML decisions to the Secretary of Defense enables military commanders to be more agile, adaptive and efficient in supporting our partners, and enables decisions that benefit unit readiness, cohesion and lethality,” Pentagon spokesman Dana White told BuzzFeedNews Wednesday. White also told the Associated Press Mattis has not yet changed the number of troops in the region.
The decision marks a major departure from the Obama administration, which capped troop levels in several U.S. military areas of operations and frequently highlighted troop numbers as part of its drawdown strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics of the Obama administration said focus on troop levels arbitrarily constrained commanders trying to achieve larger strategic goals.
The U.S. currently has approximately 5,000 troops in Iraq advising and assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against ISIS. In Syria the U.S. has hundreds of special operators embedded with local forces, along with approximately 400 U.S. Marines supporting the forces with artillery.
Some liberals reported on this as if it was something unprecedented, apparently unaware that Trump is simply giving the Pentagon authority to do its job.
Buzzfeed: The Pentagon will now reportedly get to decide how many troops to send to fight ISIS https://t.co/Gsxmt5xXFg
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 26, 2017
Newsflash: That's the Pentagon's job https://t.co/Wax1s0MfoI
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 27, 2017
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]