Daily Report

March 10, 2016

Army Gen. Joseph Votel told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that, if confirmed as the next commander of US Central Command,? he would “look very carefully” at the United States’ strategy to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “I do have concerns about our broader strategy against ISIL, about how we are applying resources, and how we are focusing our authorities, about how we are leveraging all of the required instruments of government—our own and our partners—in going after that,” said Votel during his March 9 nomination hearing. Votel acknowledged that the situation in the two countries is “extraordinarily different” because the US has a partner and established government in Iraq and not in Syria. Votel, who currently leads US Special Operations Command, also agreed with comments by US European Command boss Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove that ISIS is “weaponizing the refugee crisis to break up the European Union,” but said he did not support a no-fly zone over Syria at this time. Votel said he shares the committee’s concern about the humanitarian crisis and he “looked at what the potential options are,” but he must conduct a “more complete” assessment to “ensure that they will achieve the end states that we truly desire.” (See Votel’s answers to advanced questions from the committee.)