In an unannounced trip to Baghdad and Irbil, Iraq, Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey stressed to US troops their mission is fundamentally different than during Operation Iraqi Freedom. US troops are advising Iraqi forces and the Iraqi government to help them take “ownership of the security threats” their nation faces, he said on Nov. 15 at a meeting at Baghdad International Airport. While the Iraqi government, along with the United States and other nations, is focusing on countering ISIS’ finances and blunting the terror group’s message, the group must still be militarily defeated at some level, and US advisors are key to this, said Dempsey. “Take away its ability to maneuver, take away its ability to plan, take away its ability to resupply itself,” he explained. Reports emerged during Dempsey’s visit that Iraqi forces were having success in this regard, as they were reportedly on the verge of pushing ISIS terrorists out of the disputed Baiji oil refinery complex north of Baghdad. The United States carried out airstrikes on ISIS vehicles and equipment in and around the Baiji area over the weekend, according to a Pentagon release on Nov. 17.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.