Mattis: An 'Accelerated Campaign' to Surround and Destroy ISIS

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis / Getty Images
May 22, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford are pleased with progress against the Islamic State under the Trump administration, reports Defense One, and look forward to its annihilation.

Mattis and Dunford credit the administration with enabling commanders to make rapid decisions and shifting tactics to emphasize surrounding and destroying the enemy. While strategy remains built around the Obama administration's "by, with, through" partnerships with local forces, in which those partners engage in direct attacks, Mattis described the response to President Trump's decisions as an "accelerated campaign."

Defense One reports:

Mattis elaborated: "Two significant changes resulted from President Trump’s review of our findings. First, he delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities. Secondly, he directed a tactical shift": surround ISIS fighters, instead of just pushing them out of a given territory.

In other words, "delegate and annihilate," a senior U.S. military official said after Friday’s press conference.

Mattis assured listeners that rules of engagement are unchanged, referring to the "extraordinary efforts" of American forces to avoid civilian casualties, and said troops will continue to hold at the last point of cover and concealment, allowing partner forces to engage the enemy directly.