OIR Task Force Commander Lays Out Priorities

The commander of Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve told Pentagon reporters Thursday the effort to roll back ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria has attracted over 40 nations who are contributing assistance or military forces, and he anticipates further troop commitments to serve as advisers in Iraq. Army Lt. Gen. James Terry said his center of effort is in Iraq and has three overarching priorities. The first is to build and enhance capabilities on the ground and in the air, which provides a “strategic advantage” in OIR. A large part of this effort is the coalition’s airstrikes. A total of 1,361 strikes have been carried out in Iraq and Syria as of Dec. 16, helping to pave the way for Iraqi security forces to take ground back in areas such as Sinjar, Haditha, and Mosul Dam. Second, the task force is working to deny ISIS a “safe haven,” by also striking areas such as Raqqa in Syria. Terry said the strikes appear to be having an effect on both resupply operations and communications within ISIS’s strongholds in Iraq. Finally, CJTF-OIR is expanding regional security cooperation, and Terry expects an additional 1,500 coalition advisers to arrive in Iraq soon. “An offensively minded and trained security force, backed by the government of Iraq, is the key to Iraqi security,” he added.