The continued momentum in fighting ISIS and retaking territory in both Iraq and Syria is forcing the group to change its tactics in a way that is “very difficult to protect or prevent,” President Barack Obama said during a Pentagon briefing on Thursday. Obama traveled across the Potomac on Thursday afternoon to meet with the National Security Council for an update on the anti-ISIS campaign, and highlighted the amount of land retaken from the group as more than 14,000 airstrikes have hit the group’s capitals of Raqqa and Syria. “The decline of ISIL in Syria and Iraq appears to be causing it to shift to tactics we have seen before,” Obama said, highlighting high profile terror attacks in Iraq and Syria and throughout Europe. The National Security Council discussed ways to “keep going after ISIL aggressively across every front,” Obama said and continuing “the most precise air campaign in history.” The coalition has flown about 100,000 sorties since Operation Inherent Resolve began in 2014, though more will be needed as the ground forces continue to put pressure on the group. Obama highlighted the 560 troops he approved to help build an airfield near Qayyarah in Iraq, to turn it into a functioning air strip and logistical hub as Iraqi forces push toward Mosul. (See also: ISIS Attacks in Baghdad Show Changing Tactics)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."