“We’re at war. We’re using the might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter told the House Armed Services Committee. “Tens of thousands of U.S. personnel are operating in the broader Middle East region, and more are on the way.”
While Carter did not divulge much about the special ops forces that will be battling ISIS, DOD officials have told NBC News that the expeditionary targeting force would be permanently based in Iraq. According to the officials, the force would be comprised of 100 to 150 special operations forces that would conduct ground combat raids against ISIS targets in both Iraq and Syria.
The objective would be to gather intelligence, free hostages or prisoners and kill or capture ISIS leaders. In between combat operations the American commandos would assist and could accompany Iraqi and Kurdish forces on their military operations against ISIS targets. No timetable was given on when the special operations forces will begin to arrive in Iraq.
The U.S. will consult with the Iraqi government, but there may be times when they don’t give Baghdad advance notice that an operation is underway. One official also pointed out that when talking about coordination with Iraqi forces “that also includes the Kurds.”
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