Dempsey Discusses New Military Strategy, ISIL

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today said the new National Military Strategy takes into account increasing disorder in the world and the erosion of America’s comparative advantage.

During a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey also praised the choice of Lt. Gen. Robert Neller as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps, saying the general has incredible joint credentials.

“He knows the entire joint force, and so he’ll be a great teammate on the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Dempsey said.

The chairman said the National Military Strategy, released yesterday, charts the way forward for the joint force.

Global Disorder

“Since the last … National Military Strategy was published four years ago, global disorder has trended upward while some of our comparative advantages have begun to erode,” he said.

America still maintains the most powerful military in the world, but other countries are investing heavily in military capabilities, Dempsey said. The gap between those countries and the United States is closing, he added.

“In this context, the 2015 strategy recognizes that success will increasingly depend on how well our military instrument supports the other instruments of national power and how it enables our network of allies and partners,” Dempsey said.

The American military needs to be more agile, more innovative and more integrated, he said. The strategy reinforces the need for the United States military to remain globally engaged to shape the security environment, “and it renews our professional commitment to develop leaders who will bring this strategy to life,” the chairman said.

Trans-regional Terror

Dempsey addressed recent claims by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that it is responsible for attacks outside of Syria and Iraq. “What we’ve said from the beginning is that ISIL is trans-regional,” he said. “There are also groups in Afghanistan that have re-branded themselves under the ISIL ideology and that stretches over to Boko Haram in Nigeria, which has also expressed its affiliation with ISIL. So it is trans-regional.”


The United States is trying to build a network to combat the group, Dempsey said. “We’re trying to build a framework — a scaffolding — to address this problem trans-regionally in an enduring way so … their defeat lasts, which means there are other lines of effort that have to move along with the military line,” he said.

Anything the United States does against ISIL must be sustainable, the chairman said. “We’ve got challenges across not just from Afghanistan and Nigeria, but we’ve got a few others things we’re working as well,” he said. “So we’re trying to balance all this out.”

The United States poses a threat to the terror group, Dempsey said.

“Everything we believe in is completely opposite of what they believe in – every bit of freedom, every bit of diversity, every bit of civic freedoms and religious freedoms, is exactly opposite to what they espouse,” he said.

“We will keep pressure on them, and they will eventually collapse under the weight of their own contradictions with a little help from coalition partners, partners and stakeholders in the region and military power,” the chairman said

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