The US must ramp up efforts against ISIS or risk greater risk in the future, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security. “To date, the counter-Islamic State strategy in Iraq has lacked the urgency and resources necessary for success,” co-authors Michèle Flournoy and Richard Fontaine, CNAS’ CEO and president, respectively, wrote in the report. Among the suggestions to strengthen the effort: Provide weapons directly to Sunni tribes and the Kurdish peshmerga and “embed US military advisors at the battalion level and allow them to advise Iraqi commanders during operations.” The air campaign should also be intensified, they argue, and forward air controllers should be inserted to call in close air support, while a “tourniquet strategy” should be pursued around Syria to keep the war from destabilizing neighboring countries. Flournoy and Fontaine also recommend strengthening the global campaign against ISIS, adopting a new approach in Afghanistan that would keep a small force in place to advise and assist Afghan troops and perform counterterrorism operations, and countering ISIS’ campaign on social media. “If the United States has learned anything since 9/11, it should be the need to deny sanctuary to a terrorist group that wreaks unspeakable violence and brutality against all except those who share its tortured worldview,” Flournoy and Fontaine wrote in the report.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.