Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Ramadi in December, seven months after ISIS first took the central Iraqi city. Troops raised the Iraqi flag over the provincial government center on Dec. 28 and expelled ISIS, marking “a significant step forward in the campaign to defeat this barbaric group and restore Iraq’s territorial sovereignty,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a written statement. Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said coalition airstrikes accounted for about 80 percent of the effort, enabling Iraqi forces to move in. Warren also said coalition forces used targeted airstrikes to kill 10 ISIS leaders in December, including one with a direct link to the leader of the attacks in Paris. The US “will continue to hunt ISIL leaders who are working to recruit, plan, and inspire attacks against the United States of America and our allies,” Warren said, and the deaths of those leaders will have a significant effect? on the terrorist organization’s command and control abilities. “We’re striking at the head of the snake,” he said, adding that there is still “much more fighting to do.” (See also: Progress in Ramadi, Gathering Momentum Against ISIS, and Iraqi Forces Close In On Ramadi.)
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.