A week after President Obama said his administration had yet to develop a "complete strategy" to fight the Islamic State, his top defense and military officials tried to tell Congress that it has.
At a House Armed Services hearing Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey described a nine-part plan that spans the State Department's diplomatic efforts—the "first and most critical line of effort"—to the military's air strikes. Carter and Dempsey picked up where Obama left off at his G-7 press conference, when he emphasized the importance of the involvement of Iraqi forces in the fight against the terrorist group.
The U.S. military campaign "requires capable, motivated, legitimate local ground forces to seize, clear, and hold terrain," Carter said. "That's the only way to ensure a truly lasting, enduring defeat of this movement."
Most lawmakers at the hearing expressed dissatisfaction with U.S. actions regarding the Islamic State: Some Democrats were disappointed with U.S. political strategy in the region, while some Republicans—despite testimony to the contrary—rejected the idea that the U.S. has a plan at all.
"I think we've concluded we don't have the strategy," said GOP Rep. John Kline of Minnesota. "And the fact the commander-in-chief said we don't have a strategy. So I am mystified about what we are doing here since we don't have a strategy."