As Strikes Weaken ISIL, Work Remains, Air Component Commander Says
By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 26, 2016 – The U.S.-led coalition can strike Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant capabilities any time and anywhere while very deliberately cutting impact on civilians, the commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command said today.
Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., who also serves as the Combined Forces Air Component commander for Centcom, told Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Iraq that coalition airstrikes are effectively targeting critical terrorist capabilities as the 19-nation air power coalition continually has successes.
"There is no doubt the coalition air power has and continues to dramatically dismantle [ISIL's] ability to fight and conduct operations in Iraq and Syria," the commander said, noting that airstrikes on ISIL financial resources such as banks and oil facilities have set back the extremist organization's ability to pay for its operations and fighters.
Recent strikes targeting ISIL logistics and command-and-control targets in Iraq and Syria have been critical to operations that support ground forces, he added.
Video Clips Demonstrate Air Power
Brown showed reporters recent video clips of strikes on Raqqa in Syria and Rutbah in Iraq's Anbar province to show capabilities used daily. The first showed airstrikes by newly redesigned B-52 bombers on Raqqah, destroying an ISIL weapons cache with high-precision guided munitions to degrade enemy logistics capability, he said.
The second clip demonstrated U.S. F-16 and French Mirage 2000 strikes that were tasked to dynamically destroy ISIL's defensive fighting position using three precision-guided munitions to destroy the target. It was conducted to disrupt ISIL's defenses as Iraq forces moved in to retake Rutbah, Brown said.
Continuing those types of airstrikes adds pressure on ISIL and cuts its ability to use homemade bombs and mount offensive attacks, the general said.
"As the air component, we are … working to keep [ISIL] on the defense … and enable ground forces to maneuver against as little resistance as possible," he said.
More Work to Be Done
But despite consistent progress, now is not the time for the coalition to pat itself on the back, the general emphasized. "There is still work to be done," he said.
Coalition air power will continue forging ahead to do its part to "persistently strike targets in the deep fight … and continue to integrate coalition air power with ground force maneuvers, Brown said. "Regardless of the base of operations on the ground, we will use coalition air power, its operational reach and flexibility and precision and lethality … to pressure, to destroy and eventually defeat [ISIL]."
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