August 29, 2014

Six Strategies Obama Could Use to Fight the Islamic State

By David W. Barno and USA (Ret.)

After a summer in which Islamic State militants have rampaged through Iraq and Syria, declared an Islamic caliphate, recruited extremists from abroad and claimed credit for decapitating American journalist James Foley, President Obama vowed earlier this week that “justice will be done” to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL or simply the Islamic State—a group that Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey have called an “imminent threat” to the United States with an “apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision.”

But the president has long resisted getting “dragged back into another ground war in Iraq,” as he recently reiterated, and in a White House press conference on Thursday, he made clear he has not yet made up his mind about how exactly to counter the terrorist group, aside from dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to talk with other countries in the region and tasking Hagel and Dempsey to “prepare a range of options.” Asked whether he would get approval from Congress before potentially going into Syria, Obama said it would depend what kind of intervention, if any, the United States pursues: “We don’t have a strategy yet,” he admitted.

While the president deliberates, we at Politico Magazine decided to ask for some suggestions, and so went to some of the country’s top defense thinkers—hailing from the military brass to the Pentagon to Congress. Here’s what they think Obama’s strategy should look like.

Read the full piece at POLITICO.

  • Commentary
    • Defense One
    • September 9, 2019
    Two Cheers for Esper’s Plan to Reassert Civilian Control of the Pentagon

    The longest-ever gap in civilian leadership atop the Department of Defense came to an end on July 23, when Mark Esper was sworn in as secretary of defense. His presence in the...

    By Loren DeJonge Schulman, Alice Hunt Friend & Mara Karlin

  • Video
    • October 5, 2017
    CARE: Humanitarian Aid Cuts & National Security

    A number of prominent figures are speaking out in opposition of the proposed cutbacks to the US foreign aid budget. CNAS CEO Michele Flournoy, along with many other former sen...

    By Michèle Flournoy

    • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • June 15, 2016
    Au Revoir QDR

    Whatever version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) emerges from the House-Senate conference process later this year, it seems likely that the 20-year old Quadre...

    By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Shawn Brimley

    • Commentary
    • May 12, 2016
    The DIUx Is Dead. Long Live The DIUx.

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter launched his high-profile Silicon Valley outpost a year ago to great fanfare and high expectations. Less than a year later, he has completely over...

    By Ben FitzGerald & Loren DeJonge Schulman

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia