Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, says he would consider recommending putting U.S. forces with Iraqi troops to fight Islamic State if that would improve the chances of defeating the militants. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday (October 27) he would consider recommending putting U.S. forces with Iraqi troops to fight Islamic State if that would improve the chances of defeating the militants. "If it had an operational or strategic impact and we could reinforce success, that would be the basic framework within which I'd make a recommendation for additional forces to be co-located with Iraqi units," said Marine Corp Gen. Joseph Dunford. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined four reasons it might be useful to put U.S. troops with Iraqi forces: increasing the coherence of the military campaign, ensuring logistics effectiveness, boosting intelligence awareness and improving combined arms delivery. Washington believes there are fewer than 2,000 Iranian troops in Syria helping the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and more than 1,000 in Iraq supporting the Baghdad government, Dunford added. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the number of Iranian forces in Iraq had fluctuated over time. "I think there's more than 1,000 that are on the ground in Iraq," Dunford said. "In Syria, we think the numbers are probably something less than 2,000." Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers U.S. military troops are intensifying pressure on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, supporting local forces with an expanded air campaign and occasional direct action on the ground. Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee the campaign against the militants was evolving as the U.S. military seeks to reinforce what is working on the ground. He said U.S. forces aimed to intensify pressure on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Ramadi. Carter said he expected the coalition air campaign to intensify, with more aircraft and a higher tempo of operations. He said the United States also wouldn't hesitate to support local forces with "strikes from the air or direct action on the ground."