The mission to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, known as Operation Inherent Resolve, continues in collaboration with U.S. partners on the ground. The U.S. and its Defeat-ISIS Coalition partners provided significant combat support to these partner forces to successfully end ISIS’ territorial hold. However, ISIS remains an insurgent threat with the potential to regenerate. While U.S. military planners effectively devised a concept of operation for supporting Iraqi and Syrian partner forces through heavy combat operations, the planning for what comes next has stalled in the face of long-standing political realities and institutional military capability gaps.
The CNAS Middle East Security Program will identify the challenges and generate a whole-of-government strategy and policy recommendations to address threats emanating from Syria and Iraq. We will review the existing authorities and tools for diplomatic engagement and security assistance to enable indigenous partner forces to develop lasting and sustainable military capabilities to address the threat of ISIS. We will develop realistic objectives and chart a course by which the U.S government could plan to achieve them, in the context of an accepted National Defense Strategy (NDS), which prioritizes other theaters of operation as the primary effort.