Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve: The Air Campaign, Effectiveness, Part II

Inherent Resolve Camp

The Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, instated March 30, 2016.[i] The first five medals were awarded by US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on 18 April 2016.

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Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve: The Air Campaign, Effectiveness, Part II

It has been over six months since the 13 November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Russian involvement has significantly changed the situation in Syria, while the latest terrorist attack against the Brussels airport and metro-station on 22 March, in addition to the 19 March attacks in Istanbul, seem to suggest ongoing pressure from the Islamic State’s European terrorist network.

How has CENTCOM’s Operation Inherent Resolve and its vast air campaign developed since November 2015? According to US Department of Defense figures, since the beginning of the air campaign (dated to 8 August 2014), over $6.5 billion dollars has been spent ($11.4 million a day), with total coalition sorties, as of 28 March 2016, estimated at 87,940.[ii] Of those, 11,230 were strike missions, with 7,556 carried out in Iraq and 3,674 in Syria. Meanwhile, the White House, Pentagon, NATO, and Moscow have all been been keen to stress improvements, such as the recapture of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, at the end of 2015, or the capture of Palmyra, in Syria, by the Russian supported Syrian Army at the end of March 2016. Likewise, Baghdad, with US and NATO backing, is now preparing to begin an offensive against Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, and a major ISIL stronghold. Meanwhile, Kabul remains a target for terrorist attacks,[iii] and the broader War on Terror is expected to continue into 2018 at least. How has the enormous Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve’s air campaign effort been maintained by the Global Coalition in diplomatic and operational terms? How effective has it been over the last six months?

Diplomacy and Strategy: Maintaining the Coalition

On December 2, 2015 the UK parliament voted to expand the RAF mission to include Syria. That day, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made a statement applauding the UK’s commitment, and also voiced approval of the 1,200 personnel committed by Germany.[iv] On 7 December, the Defense Department announced that it had killed Abu Nabil (aka, Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi), who was an Iraqi ISIL leader and operative in Libya. He had been targeted as part of a strike on 13 November.[v]

On 15 December, the DOD announced that as part of the broader anti-Terror strategy, including air-strikes against targets in Somalia, the US was prepared to maintain a force level of 9,800 personnel in Afghanistan, to transition to 5,500 after 2016.[vi]

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Ash Carter and General Paul J. Selva, USAF, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify before the Senate Armed Service Committee on 9 December.

On 19 December, as part of a tour of US and Coalition naval forces in theatre, Ash Carter made a phone call to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi regarding what appeared to be a friendly-fire incident involving the death of Iraq Security Forces by Coalition airstrikes.[vii] That same day Carter visited the French nuclear carrier Charles de Gaulle, then the flagship of the USN’s Central Command Task Force 50. Carter placed a phone call to French Minister of Defense, Jean Yves Le Drian, in which the two discussed the ongoing anti-ISIL mission and, significantly, the future role of Russia in Syria, as well as the position of Iran.[viii] Carter also met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain at the King’s residence, where they discussed counter-ISIL strategy.[ix]

On 22 December, Secretary of Defense Carter called Italy’s Defence Minister, Roberta Pinotti, to follow up on their meeting in Rome the previous October. In this phone call they discussed Italian commitments to Iraq and Libya.[x] Six days later, following the Christmas break, Carter made a statement congratulating Iraq’s Prime Minister for the recapture of Ramadi from ISIL forces.[xi]

Meanwhile, the Pentagon was confronted with the North Korean nuclear test of 6 January which caused a flurry of activity: Carter was in close communication with Japanese and South Korean Defence Ministries, as well as US Forces Command Korea to discuss responses.[xii] As a result of these developments, Brigadier General Tony D. Bauernfeind, the Deputy Commander Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan was transferred to Special Operations Command, Korea, as Commanding General.[xiii]

On 11 January, Carter met with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Pentagon. Together they discussed the situation in Syria and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to countering ISIL.[xiv]

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Barack Obama and Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan work on the State of the Union Address while Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, looks on, seemingly exasperated. January 11, 2016.

On 13 January 2016, at 9:10 pm EST, US President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address to the joint session of Congress. In his address, the President described the efforts that had been made thus far to degrade and destroy ISIL and al Qaeda- while the President denied that the Long War against global terrorism represented a new “World War III”, he did acknowledge that the US led 60 member nation coalition had conducted over 10,000 air strikes. Obama once again asked the US Congress to pass a vote authorizing military action against ISIL.[xv] Earlier that day, Ash Carter made a statement thanking US Secretary of State John Kerry for negotiating the release of ten US Navy sailors held by Iran.[xvi]

The next day, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work traveled to Israel as part of a two-day trip to shore up US-Israeli defence commitments. During the trip, Work met with Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon and the Director-General of Israeli Ministry of Defense Dan Harel, as well as Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin. In addition to broader discussion of regional strategy, the meeting emphasized US-Israeli technology cooperation, specifically the DOD’s Third Offset Strategy.[xvii] Work was scheduled to follow up this trip with another trip to the United Kingdom. While in Cheltenham and Hereford during January 14, 15, 16 and 17, the Deputy Secretary met with UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Philip Dunne, and discussed “global security issues, bilateral defence cooperation,” and other technical issues related to refocusing the UK’s defence establishment on cyber, special operation and technical innovation, following on the UK’s Strategic Defense and Security Review.[xviii]

On 18 January Ash Carter met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Pentagon, following a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The focus of the discussion was on Syria and Iraq, in addition to the ongoing crisis in the Asia-Pacific region. Carter expressed his desire to see continued Australian cooperation, in particular, Turnbull’s participation in the upcoming counter-ISIL coalition meeting in Paris.[xix]

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January 19th, President Obama says goodbye to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull following a working lunch.

Next, Coalition partners, meeting in Paris, issued a joint statement on January 20th. The Defence Ministries of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and United States affirmed their commitment to accelerating the “C-ISIL/DAESH” mission. The joint statement confirmed that the coalition had gained momentum and was now preparing to move into, “its next phase targeting ISIL/DAESH vulnerabilities.” The statement emphasized that, while the military campaign was a critical component of the overall strategy, equally important would be ongoing political steps to ensure regional stability.[xx] A further meeting would take place in February.

Major re-shuffling of the Afghan-Iraq command occurred on 21 January. Major General Jay B. Silveria USAF was moved to deputy commander USAF Cent-Com, and, wearing a second hat, also became deputy Combined Forces Air Component Commander, Cent-Com (Southwest Asia). Brigadier General Jeffrey B. Taliaferro became Commander 9th Air And Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan, as well as NATO C-in-C for Air Command-Afghanistan, in addition to deputy commander USAF-Afghanistan Central Command. Brigadier General Richard A. Coe, the deputy commander (air) for Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq, and Joint Air Component Coordination Element-Iraq (for CJTF-OIR) was moved to the Inspector General position for HQ Air Combat Command in Langley Virginia. Brigadier General Coe was replaced by Col. Matthew C. Isler- promoted, Brigadier General- formerly of the 12th Flying Training Wing, Air Education and Training Command, San Antonio Texas. To support closer integration with UK forces, Brigadier General Chris M. Short, 57th Fighter Wing commander, became the defense attaché-UK, within the Defense Intelligence Agency.[xxi]

Meetings of the Chiefs of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels- Military Committee in Chiefs of Staff Session

Left to right: General Sir Nicholas Houghton (UK Chief of Defence) with General Tom Middendorp (Chief of Defence, The Netherlands) and General Joseph Dunford (Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff)

174th Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session, Brussels. General Sir Nicholas Houghton, UK Chief of Defence, General Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defence, The Netherlands, and the Chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, met on 21 January, 2016.

The next day, Ash Carter met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. They reiterated their commitment to countering-ISIL, with Carter stressing the successes in the Ramadi operation.[xxii] The global coalition was preparing for a major summit in Brussels. Carter also met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, where they discussed the deployment of Afghanistan’s A-29 aircraft in the counter-Taliban campaign, and both looked forward to meeting again at the NATO summit in July to be held in Warsaw.[xxiii] The A-29 contract is worth $427 million, and will deliver 20 of the close attack planes by 2018.[xxiv]

''The Global Security Outlook'' Session at the World Economic Forum

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, US Secretary of Defense Ash B. Carter, the Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Office of the Prime Minister of Singapore, and Espen Barth Eide, Head of Geopolitical Affairs, World Economic Forum are seen discussing the Global Security Outlook at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January.

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US President Barack Obama at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, January 22nd 2016

On 27 January, Carter announced that General John Campbell, C-in-C US Forces Afghanistan and Commander NATO Operation Resolute Support was to be replaced by Lt. General John Nicholson, former commander US 82nd Airborne Division and Chief of Staff for the International Security Assistance Force and US Forces Afghanistan.[xxv]

The following day the US and Russian Defense personnel consulted via video conference on further implementation of their “memorandum of understanding” designed to prevent flight accidents over Syrian airspace.[xxvi] The next day, 29 January, Ash Carter made a statement regarding the Dutch Minister of Defense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert’s, decision to expand Dutch airstrikes over Syria. Carter looked forward to meeting with Hennis-Plasschaert, and the representative from the 26 nation military coalition, in two-weeks time in Brussels for the coalition’s Defence Ministerial conference.[xxvii]

January 29th: Major General Mark R. Stammer, C-in-C Combined Joint Task Force Operation Enduring Freedom-Horn of Africa was replaced by Brigadier General Kurt L. Sonntag, formerly Special Operations Command South, US Southern Command.[xxviii] Brigadier General Scott A. Howell, promoted Major General, became commander, Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan.[xxix] On 5 February Colonel Daniel L. Simpson was promoted to Brigadier General and transferred from the National Security Agency to deputy director of intelligence, US Forces-Afghanistan, as well as assistant deputy chief of staff of intelligence to NATO HQ, Operation Resolute Support.[xxx] It is significant to note the number of intelligence officers being transferred to Afghanistan postings.

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As of February 2nd, Lt. General Sean B. Macfarland, C-in-C CJTF-OIR had approximately 6,500 soldiers from 17 nations under his command in Iraq.[xxxi]

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February 5th, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg photographed at the European Defence Ministers meeting.

On February 9th, President Obama sent Congress his Fiscal Year 2017 budget for $582.7 billion for the DOD. The budget was meant to reflect changes in the security situation, including, “Russian aggression, terrorism by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and others, and China’s island building and claims of sovereignty in international waters”. The budget allowed for 460,000 soldiers in the Army, 335,000 soldiers in the National Guard, and 195,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve for 56 total brigade combat teams. The Marine Corps would consist of 182,000 marines and 38,5000 reservists. The Navy was to expand from 280 ships to 308 (over 5 years), with 380,900 active duty and reserve sailors. The USAF was to consist of 491,700 active duty, reserve and national guard airmen, for 55 tactical fighter squadrons.[xxxii]

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February 10th, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Staff in bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Defense Secretary Carter met with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan on 10 February during Carter’s visit to Brussels. Sajjan was thanked for his commitment to countering ISIL, including the extension of Canada’s role in aerial refueling and surveillance. Canada is also expanding its training and intelligence missions for Iraq.[xxxiii]

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NATO Defence Ministers family portrait 10th February 2016, NATO HQ, Brussels.

On 11 February, Ash Carter met with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defense, Mohammed bin Salman, in Brussels. Both parties agreed on the importance of accelerating the counter-ISIL mission. Carter responded favorably to the Minister’s offer to expand Saudi Arabia’s role in the air campaign.[xxxiv]

On February 12th, Brigadier General Scott A. Kindsvater, formally the Assistant deputy commander USAF Central Command, became deputy commander-Operations and Intelligence, CJTF-OIR.[xxxv] Also on the 12th, Ash Carter met with United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Mohammed Al Bowardi, in Brussels. Carter “welcomed” the Minister’s willingness for the UAE to rejoin the coalition air campaign.[xxxvi] Further, on the 12th, the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) members met at Munich to discuss a Cessation of Hostilities agreement.

February 15 was the beginning of the Syrian Democratic Forces operation to secure Shaddadi.[xxxvii] On 16 February Brigadier General Antonio M. Fletcher, formerly the special assistant to the commanding general, US Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, became deputy commander, Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Brigadier General Robert P. Walters Jr., formerly the director of intelligence US Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base became deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Resolute Support Mission, NATO and director J-2, US Forces Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel- continuing the trend of appointing intelligence officers to Afghanistan postings.[xxxviii]

The following day, Secretary of Defense Carter made a statement condemning the 17 February terrorist attacks in Ankara.[xxxix] On 19 February the DOD announced that it had conducted an airstrike on an ISIL training camp near Sabratha, Libya, targeting Noureddine Couchane (“Sabir”), a Tunisian, operating the ISIL training camp there.[xl] That same day, Brigadier General David W. Hicks (USAF) was transferred from vice commander First Air Force, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to Commander NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan, Operation Resolute Support.[xli] The following day the DOD admitted that two Serbian hostages held in Libya had been killed, although the Defense Department did not admit if it was responsible, or if these were reprisal killings for its 19 February airstrike.[xlii]

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23rd February, President Obama and members of the national security team meet via video conference with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and French President Francois Hollande to discuss the situation in Syria. From Obama’s right is Vice President Joseph Biden, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Lisa Monaco, Avril Haines, Deputy National Security Advisor, and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice.

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ISW map estimating Taliban control in Afghanistan, 23 February 2016.[xliii]

On 23 February USMC Colonel William H. Seely III was promoted to Brigadier General, serving in the function of chief of staff USMC Cyberspace Command, Fort Meade, then deployed at the J-2 Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq.[xliv]

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February 25th, President Obama at a National Security Council meeting held at the US State Department to discuss the Counter-ISIL mission.

February 29th: the DOD held a video conference with Russian Defense officials concerning the ongoing US-Russia memorandum of understanding on flight safety over Syria.[xlv]

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1st March 2016, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with Iraq’s President Fouad Massoum.

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March 4th, Barack Obama and members of the National Security Council discuss counter-terrorism, via video conference from the White House Situation Room, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. From the President’s right are Vice President Joseph Biden, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Lisa Monaco, Peter Lavoy, Senior Director for South Asian Affairs, Avril Haines, Deputy National Security Advisor, and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice.

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Institute for the Study of War, ISIS Regional Campaign map showing major areas of operation, March 2016[xlvi]

On March 8th, Ash Carter met with German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, at the Pentagon. The two discussed the counter-ISIL mission, the situation in Ukraine, and Afghanistan, and Carter was pleased with Germany’s ongoing commitment to Operation Resolute Support.[xlvii] On 11 March the DOD announced that Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti would succeed USAF General Breedlove as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.[xlviii] Scaparrotti had previously commanded the International Security and Assistance Force Afghanistan during the 2011-2012 surge.[xlix]

On 14 March, Carter met with Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon at the Pentagon. On March 15, the DOD appointed Major General Paul A. Ostrowski to deputy commanding general for support, Combined Security and Transition Command-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.[l] Likewise, Brigadier General Jeffery D. Broadwater, the deputy commander of the 1st Armored Division, was appointed the director CJ-35 for Resolute Support Mission, NATO, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, replacing Brigadier General Richard C. Kim. Brigadier General Broadwater traded postings with Brigadier General Joel K. Tyler, who had formerly been the director of operations for the CTJF-OIR.

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NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg conducts a briefing during his visit to Afghanistan with Chairman of the Military Committee, General Petr Pavel (left) and Operation Resolute Support Commander, General John Nicholson (centre), 14 March 2016.

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March 18th, 2016. President Obama speaks with French President Francois Hollande and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel regarding the capture of Salah Abdeslam, a planner of the November 13 2015 Paris Terrorist attacks. Standing across from Obama is Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

On the 17th, the Pentagon released its 2017 Defense Posture Statement.[li] In that document, Defense Secretary Carter lamented the possible sequestration that would follow 2017, resulting in a $100 billion in cuts from 2018 to 2021. Carter acknowledged a dramatic shift in the global balance of power, suggesting that the concept of a return to great power politics may be a valid comparison. The Secretary of Defense stressed the importance of countering ISIL, “most immediately in its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, and also where it is metastasizing, in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere”. Carter noted that the $7.5 billion budget for Operation Inherent Resolve would be “critical to continuing to implement and accelerate the coalition military campaign plan that the United States has developed”. The 2017 strategy would focus on destroying ISIL in Raqqa, in Syria, and Mosul, in Iraq.[lii]

The budget included the all important figure of $630 million for training and equipping the Iraqi Security Force, and another $250 million for “enabling Syrian anti-ISIL forces.”[liii] Significantly, only $41.7 million was earmarked for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Another $9 million was earmarked for other counter-ISIL operations in the Levant, and a further $166 million for the North and West African theatres. The DOD intended to spend another $1.8 billion to purchase over 45,000 GPS guided bombs due to the reduction in coalition stockpiles caused by the air campaign.[liv] A further $5.7 billion was earmarked for the increase of global daily unmanned air patrols form 70 to 90 by the end of 2018. These patrols would include “a mix of MQ-9 Reapers, Extended Range Reapers, and MQ-1C Advanced Gray Eagles” and require “60 patrols from the Air Force, 16 from the Army, and 14 that are government-owned and flown by contractors for the Air Force and US Special Operations Command”. The A-10 Thunderbolt II would continued flying until 2022, as the A-10s operating in support of Operation Inherent Resolve flying out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey were deemed essential for the air campaign.[lv]

On March 19th the Pentagon announced the deployment of the XVIII Airborne Corps HQ to Kuwait, along with 450 soldiers, where the XVIII Airborne Corps would replace III Corps as the command HQ for the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.[lvi]

On 22 March Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work met Danish Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defense, Thomas Ahrenkiel, at the Pentagon, where they discussed the counter-ISIL campaign.[lvii]

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22nd March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg prepares to give a statement following the Brussels airport terrorist attacks.

On 24 March Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work hosted Norway’s Secretary for Defense, Oystein Bo, at the Pentagon, where the two discussed broader counter-ISIL strategy.[lviii] Secretary of Defense Ash Carter meanwhile called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defense, to discuss the situation in the middle-east and the counter-ISIL mission.[lix]

On 25 March Major General Christopher K. Haas became deputy chief of staff, Operations, Resolute Support Mission, having been transferred from his posting as director, force management and development, US Special Operations Command.[lx] Major General Hass replaced Major General Mark R. Quantock, who became director J-2 US Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base. Brigadier General Willard M. Burleson III, the director, Mission Command Center of Excellence, US Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, also became senior advisor to the Ministry of Defense, US Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

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March 25, Ash Carter and Marine Corps General Joe Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefed reporters on counter-ISIL strategy.

On March 29th Ash Carter hosted the Estonian Defense Minister, Hannes Hanso, at the Pentagon to discuss Estonia’s support for “operations in Afghanistan, Africa, the Balkans, and importantly its support for the coalition’s counter-ISIL campaign.”[lxi] Naturally, Russia was another major item on the agenda.

On March 30th the Defense Department announced that service members who had been active in Iraq, Syria, or nearby water or airspace from June 15, 2014, onwards would be eligible to be awarded the newly implemented Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal.[lxii]

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March 31st, President Obama hosts a working dinner with the heads of state and delegation members attending the Washington Nuclear Security Summit in the White House East Room.

On 31 March, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin, and Joint Staff Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy Major General Steven M. Shepro, held a video conference from the Pentagon, with Russian MOD counterparts concerning the ongoing memorandum of understanding regarding flight safety over Syrian airspace.[lxiii]

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April 1st, 2016. US President Barack Obama bids farewell to Chinese President XI Jinping at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit, Washington DC.

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April 4th, President Obama and members of his national security team meet with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, in the Oval Office. To the right of the President are Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Seated in front of the camera, holding a highlighted document, is Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and right of Carter is Avril Haines, Deputy National Security Advisor, and Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

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President Obama shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral meeting on April 4th. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry visible in background.

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April 4th, Barack Obama poses with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office following their bilateral meeting.

President Obama also met with his National Security Team and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on April 5th and issued a statement in which he stressed the need to continue accelerating the air campaign, which he credited with cutting critical the Raqqa-Mosul supply line.[lxiv]

On 14 April, the DOD announced that Brigadier General Dennis S. McKean, formerly the commandant US Army Armor School, would become the chief, Office of Security Cooperation – Iraq, US Central Command.[lxv]

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On April 13, President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry, CIA Director Brennan, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dunford made a statement on the coalition’s anti-ISIL strategy.[lxvi] Speaking from the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, President Obama stated that the Islamic State is now on the defensive. The President noted successes in Anbar province, Iraq, especially around Hit. The President also pointed to gains made in Syria at al-Shaddadi, including the cutting of the supply corridor between Raqqah and Mosul. “In other words,” said the President, “the ISIL core in Syria and Iraq continues to shrink,” with ISIL fighters estimated to be in their lowest numbers in two years. Meanwhile, Obama pointed to diplomatic efforts about to resume in Geneva, seeking a conclusion to the Syrian civil war.[lxvii]

On April 16th, the New York Times reported that the Obama Administration was planning to accelerate its anti-ISIL campaign by increasing the deployment of Special Operations forces to Syria, as well as Army helicopters to Iraq. “Dozens” of SOF soldiers were to be added, to the 50 currently working inside Syria, up to as many as 200. The SOF were expected to provide support for the planned operation against Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital, while the Army’s Apache helicopter gunships (which Iraq’s government had refused in December 2015)[lxviii] would support the planned future operation to capture Mosul.[lxix] Ash Carter, meanwhile, was in Al Dhafra air base for a tour of the Middle East. There were approximately 5,000 US service members in Iraq at the time. The coalition was now transitioning to its second phase of operations.

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Ash Carter meets with Global Hawk pilots during his tour of Iraq, April 17, 2016.

Operations and Tactics: Executing the Mission

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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters training in Irbil Iraq, October 11 2015.

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During airstrikes carried out on 13 November 2015, nine coalition strikes were carried out against ISIL units near Ramadi, while other strikes near Ramadi destroyed 16 buildings, two weapons caches, six ISIL fighting positions, two light machine guns, an ISIL rocket launcher and two sniper positions. Also targeted and destroyed were five vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), a staging area, two heavy machine guns, two command and control positions, a supply cache, an ISIL vehicle, another fighting position, plus damage was done to an ISIL controlled road.[lxx]

As part of Operation Tidal Wave II (the targeting of ISIL controlled oil assets), 116 fuel trucks were destroyed near Abu Kamal, Syria on November 15.[lxxi]

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            In the above image a PGM (precision guided munition) can be seen moments before it destroys an ISIL fuel truck. In the image below, incoming cannon rounds from the attacking A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft can be seen a split second before destroying another truck.[lxxii]

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            On November 18th coalition airstrikes destroyed a bridge leading to Ramadi.[lxxiii]

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On November 19 the coalition conducted three strikes near Kisik , Iraq, destroying four LMGs, two vehicles and two supply caches. [lxxiv] That same day the coalition destroyed an ISIL anti-air emplacement near Fallujah.[lxxv]

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Shortly afterwards, on November 24, the CJTF-OIR youtube page uploaded video highlighting the destruction of 283 ISIL fuel trucks during November 22, near Al Hassakah and Dayr Az Zawr Syria.[lxxvi] The images above show a small sample of the trucks, parked end-to-end in a huge circle, being decimated by A-10 cannon strikes.

            On the 24th of November the coalition destroyed a homemade exposive (HME) cache near Ramadi. On December 1st the coalition targeted a VBIED factory near Al Qaim, Iraq, and destroyed it, following that up with airstrikes the next day that destroyed two VBIEDs near Ramadi.[lxxvii]

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            The photo above shows the VBIED factory before its destruction, while the colour before and after screen captures (below) show the destruction of VBIEDs near Ramadi.

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On December 5, the coalition destroyed five ISIL oil wellheads near Dayr Az Zawr, Syria.[lxxviii] PGM circled.

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Two VBIED factories near Qayyarah Iraq were targeted on December 7th and 10th, and a logistics factory was also hit.[lxxix]

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On December 9, six strikes were carried out near Ramadi, destroying 2 ISIL boats used to cross the Euphrates, as well as two “tactical units” and five “fighting positions” and three weapons caches.[lxxx] Further strikes were carried out at Ramadi on 13 December, destroying multiple ISIL controlled buildings.[lxxxi] These were only a small sample of broader coalition strike missions, which included hundreds of attacks on a monthly bases. Multiple strikes were carried out every day.

dec15

On 15 December coalition airstrikes hit Al Qaim, Iraq, destroying an HQ building, an IED factory and a VBIED factory.[lxxxii]

During December 16-17 multiple strikes were carried out at Mosul, pulverizing ISIL positions and vehicles.[lxxxiii] More strikes were carried out on 20 December.[lxxxiv]

On 21 December six USAF personnel were killed when they were attacked while on patrol by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle at Bagram Air Base in Afhganistan. [lxxxv] Another two services members were injured as was a US contractor.[lxxxvi] These soldiers had been operating as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

On December 24 the coalition continued to hammer ISIL oil assets near Dayr Az Zawr, Syria. In sum 11 strikes were carried out in Syria that day followed by 19 strikes in Iraq.[lxxxvii] Cave complexes around Al Baghdadi were targeted, as shown in the image below.[lxxxviii]

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On December 25-26 the coalition targeted ISIL controlled bridges near Tal Afar, Iraq.[lxxxix]

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On December 28th the ISF recaptured portions of Ramadi, raising the Iraqi flag over the rubble of a government building.[xc]

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On December 29 the New York Times reported that Iraqi Security Forces had recaptured Ramadi- one the heaviest bombed cities during the December air campaign.[xci] By this point the CJTF-OIR had trained 15,892 ISF forces with another 4,200 in training.

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This chart shows the number of times a respective area was targeted, according to CJTF-OIR website press releases for December 2015, providing an indication of the scale of daily and monthly attacks. It is important to recognize that these figures do not include the hundreds of sorties and strikes carried out by Russian aircraft during the same period.[xcii]

Jan1

Further strikes against the Dayr Az Zawr oilfields occurred on December 29.[xciii] Additional strikes were carried out against Mosul,[xciv] and further attacks hit the Abu Kamal bridge, Syria, on January 1st.[xcv] The various oil works at Dayr Az Zawr were targeted again on 2 January.[xcvi]

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Ramadi was subjected to additional airstrikes on 5 January.[xcvii] A PGM seen here moments before obliterating an ISIL controlled building.

On 6 January 2016 the DOD announced the death of Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), who was killed in Marjah District, Afghanistan, during a firefight as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.[xcviii]

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French F-2 Rafale flies over Iraq on 8 January.[xcix]

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On January 10 a bridge at Tal Afar was destroyed.[c] Mosul was again targeted on January 11, this time an ISIL controlled bank and mint was targeted. This was the beginning of a shift in focus towards targeting central Mosul, in particular, ISIL’s financial assets. Other buildings were also targeted, again, dozens of strikes were carried out each day.[ci]

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Kisik, Iraq was bombed on January 12th.[cii] The following day an IED factory at Hit, Iraq was bombed.[ciii] Mosul was again the targeted of bombing on 15 January, PGM circled.[civ]

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Mosul was bombed again on the 18th: you can see approximately seven separate bombs hitting the same target in the video posted on the CJTF-OIR youtube page, before the structure collapses- significantly this would only count as part of one “strike” in the vernacular of the US Defense Department.[cv]

jan18jan18b

On January 17 the DOD announced the death of Major John D. Gerrie who was killed in “a non-combat related incident” on January 16th while involved in Operation Inherent Resolve- the US Central Command’s anti-ISIL campaign.[cvi] The casualty had initially been attributed to Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, but was re-categorized as an OIR loss on January 22.

On January 25 airstrikes near Mar’a, Syria, destroyed another ISIL HQ building.[cvii] On 28 January an ISIL controlled communication array in Mosul was destroyed.[cviii]

Jan28jan28b

On 29 January the DOD announced the death of Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, when his HMMWV rolled over near Al Asad Airbase, Al Anbar Province, during activity supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on 28 January.[cix]

jan2016

This chart shows the strike allocations conducted in Iraq and Syria for January 2016. Notice that despite the Iraqi Security Forces having entered Ramadi at the end of December 2015, Ramadi and the surrounding area accounted for 23% of all coalition strikes during January, and received the most strikes in absolute terms. Mosul was the next most heavily targeted city, accounting for 19% of all strikes that month. Interestingly, the ISIL capital in Syria, Ar Raqqah received only 3% of strikes, only 24 in total, compared to the 167 against Ramadi and 138 against Mosul. Note also the dropping off of strikes against the oil centre of Dayr Az Zawr, which had received 28 strikes the previous month, but only 11 in January.

mapfeb.jpg

Map showing territory lost to the Islamic State by February 2016.

Meanwhile, during the end of January, and the first week of February, Russia flew 468 sorties in Syria, destroying 1,354 facilities in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Raqqa, Daraa, and Deir-ez-Zor.[cx]

russian airstrikes.jpg

ISW map showing Russian airstrikes in Syria, February to March 2016.[cxi]

A series of coalition strikes were carried out on 2 February. The oil fields at Dayr Az Zawr, Syria were targeted again. Then ISIL positions at Manbij, Syria were bombed.

feb2

Further heavy airstrikes were carried out on 13 February. Mosul was bombed again: see the before and after comparison below.[cxii] Several major buildings were destroyed, again note the multiple bomb impacts.[cxiii]

feb13cfeb13dfeb13feb13b

Abu Kamal, Syria, was bombed on 15 February, targeting weapon storage.[cxiv] ISIL barracks and vehicles were also targeted.[cxv]

feb15

The Dayr Az Zawr oil and gas plants were bombed again on 19 February.[cxvi] On 20 February ISIL positions near Al Hasakah Syria were bombed.[cxvii] Additional strikes against Al Hasakah were conducted on 21 February.[cxviii] Bridges at Dayr Az Zawr, Syria, were bombed on 21-22 February, and further wellhead strikes took place.[cxix]

feb21feb22feb22b

An IED factory near Al Qaim, Iraq, was bombed on February 24th.[cxx]

feb24feb25

On 25 February an oil separation facility at Abu Kamal, Syria was hit.[cxxi]

Fallujah, one of the major ISIL control-points in Iraq, was targeted on 29 February, where an ISIL weapons storage facility was bombed.[cxxii] Also on the 29th, a VBIED was destroyed at Manbij, Syria.[cxxiii]

            On 1 March another VBIED and a weapons storage warehouse at Mosul were destroyed.[cxxiv] The PGM can be seen before a series of explosions obliterates the warehouse in the images below.

mar1amar1b

An ISIL technical was destroyed at Ramadi on 2 March.[cxxv] On 3 March, Syrian President Bashir al-Asad’s forces recaptured the strategic city of Palmyra, a major turning point in the Syrian Civil War. On 4 March, the DOD carried out an airstrike at al Shaddadi, Syria, targeting senior ISIL leader Tarkhan Tayumurazovish Batirashvili, aka, Abu Umar al-Shishani, or Omar the Chechen, a senior member of the Islamic State’s war council. Omar the Chechen had been targeted as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.[cxxvi]

hornets

US Navy F/A-18 Hornets fly over Iraq on 3 March 2016.

On 5 March ISIL vehicles were bombed at Manbij, Syria, while a weapons facility at Hit, Iraq, was also bombed.[cxxvii]

mar5amar5

On 7 March the DOD announced that on March 5th it conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab’s training camp in Raso, Somalia with manned and unmanned aircraft.[cxxviii]

ISIL positions at Mar’a were targeted on 8 March.[cxxix] An ISIL vehicle was also destroyed at Mar’a on 11 March.[cxxx]

mar8

ISIL positions at Hit, Iraq, were bombed on 12 March.[cxxxi] At least two IED factories at Mosul was destroyed on 14 March.[cxxxii] In the video, multiple PGMs can be seen hitting the targets, before secondary explosions completely destroy them.[cxxxiii]

mar14mar14amar14b

Another ISIL vehicle was destroyed near Hit, Iraq on 15 March.[cxxxiv] Also on 15 March, it was reported that Russia would begin a phased withdrawal of its forces from Syria, following the success of pro-regime forces at Palmyra. Russia was expected to maintain a reserve presence in support of the Syrian Army.

On 19 March the coalition dropped bombs on an ISIL HQ building in Mosul.[cxxxv] Also on 19 March, Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was killed while “providing force protection fire support” near Makhmur, Northern Iraq, when their fire base was attacked by ISIL rockets.[cxxxvi] Several other marines were wounded in the attack. The Pentagon noted that this was the second combat fatality since the start of OIR.[cxxxvii] On 21 March, the Pentagon admitted it had formed a USMC base in northern Iraq, staffed by 100 to 200 marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.[cxxxviii]

mar19

mar19b

On 22 March the DOD announced that it had conducted an airstrike in Yemen against an al-Qa’ida training camp, then being used by more than 70 militants training with the al-Qa’iada in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[cxxxix]

mar23

On 23 March the coalition carried out multiple strikes at Qayyarah, Iraq; where a radio tower and other communication facilities were demolished.[cxl] An ISIL vehicle was also destroyed at Al Hawl, Syria.[cxli] The bridge at Qayyarah was again targeted on 24 March, destroying a large part of it.[cxlii]

mar24

training, Czech.JPG

Afghan tactical air controllers call in practice strikes at a training range in Kabul, 27 March. Czech Republic air advisors look on.

An ISIL barracks and a safehouse, at Hit, Iraq were bombed on March 28th.[cxliii] The next day an HQ building in Hit was destroyed.[cxliv] Further strikes at Hit on 31 March destroyed a VBIED.[cxlv]

mar31mar29

On 31 March the DOD carried out an airstrike in Somalia, targeting Hassan Ali Dhoore, a senior al-Shabaab agent within the organization’s Amniyat (security and intelligence) wing.[cxlvi]

ISIS Sanctuary 31 MAR 2016-01_2.png

Institute for the Study of War map showing estimated ISIL control in Syria and Iraq on 31 March.[cxlvii]

On 1 April a weapons cache at Qayyarah was bombed.[cxlviii] A bridge at Hit was bombed on 2 April.[cxlix] On 3 April a VBIED was destroyed near Shadaddi, Syria.[cl] In the video, the vehicle can be seen racing down a road before it is surrounded by cannon fire and explodes in a huge fireball.

april5.jpg

On April 7, the Pentagon announced that it had killed Abu Zubary al-Bosni near Bajar, a Swedish fighter, and Khalid Osman Timayare, the “deputy emir of the Anwar al-Awlaki Brigade,” also a Swedish national, was killed at Ar Rayhaniyah.[cli] By this point in the Shaddadi offensive, 6,100 square kilometers had been recaptured, and the coalition had conducted over 209 strike missions, “killing hundreds of enemy fighters.”[clii]

A number of attacks were carried out on April 8. In Syria, remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) carried out eight strikes, one at Hawl and seven at Mara. In Iraq, fighter aircraft and attack planes, supported by RPAs, bombed targets at Huwayjah, where an HMG was destroyed, at Fallujah, and at Hit, where two HMGs were destroyed, as well as a recoilless rifle, a supply cache, a boat and two vehicles. At Kirkuk two strikes destroyed an ISIL bunker, two vehicles and seven rocket systems plus a VBIED. At Mosul, seven strikes destroyed various targets including a VBIED manufacturing plant and a supply cache. At Qayyarah eight ISIL positions were bombed. Near Sinjar two supply caches were destroyed. At Sultan Abdallah a supply cache was destroyed and an assembly area bombed.[cliii]

humvee.jpg

Iraqi HMMWV fires TOW missile in Hit during fighting early in April.

On April 9th, attack aircraft carried out two strikes in Syria, one bombing the Dayr Az Zawr oil separation plant. At Manbij, a strike destroyed ISIL artillery and rocket systems. 21 strikes were conducted in Iraq. An ISIL HMG was bombed at Huwayjah. 22 rockets and two “rocket rails” were destroyed at Albu Hayat. An ISIL mortar system and vehicle were destroyed near Habbaniyah. At Haditha an ISIL tactical unit and fighting positions were bombed. At Hit four strikes were carried out, destroying an HMG, an artillery piece, and anti-aircraft piece and 30 boats and one vehicle. At Kirkuk a fighting position was bombed. At Kisik two strikes hit an ISIL “command and control node”. At Mosul three strikes were carried out, destroying additional buildings and three rocket systems. An ISIL HQ building was bombed at Tal Afar, and at Qayyarah four strikes destroyed weapons facilities and two ISIL VBIEDs were also destroyed.[cliv] This level of destruction was typical for the entire period, November 2015 to April 2016.

B-52.JPG

On April 9, B-52 bombers operating out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar began operations as part of the CJTF-OIR effort, signaling a dramatic expansion of the air war.[clv]

On 10 April one strike was carried out at Raqqah, Syria, and 24 strikes were conducted in Iraq. Qayyarah was bombed 3 times, destroying two boats and a vehicle. Mosul was bombed eight times, destroying five communications facilities, two vehicles and a boat. Kirkuk was hit four times, destroying two ISIL HMGs, and a supply cache, amongst other areas and targets bombed.[clvi]

On 11 April the coalition carried out five strikes in Syria and 13 strikes in Iraq. On 14 April four strikes were conducted in Syria, at Hawl, Raqqah, and Ma’ra in Syria; while 17 strikes were carried out in Iraq, at Hit, four machine gun positions were destroyed, a boat and boat dock, an ISIL vehicle, and a command position were all bombed. In Kisik two ISIL units were destroyed as well as a bunker. At Mosul, a VBIED and a storage facility were destroyed. At Qayyarah, an HQ unit and financial centre were bombed. Near Sultan Abdallah two strikes destroyed seven ISIL boats and a mortar position. Another mortar was bombed at Tal Afar.[clvii]

prowler.JPG

US Marine Corps EA-6B Prowlers deployed to Turkey to support the OIR air campaign, starting on 14 April.[clviii]

On April 14th, the New York Times reported that a team of Italian engineering specialists had arrived to work on repairing the Mosul dam, recaptured from ISIL in 2014, which earlier in the year CJTF-OIR commander Lt. General Macfarland described as a serious humanitarian disaster waiting to happen should it collapse.[clix]

The A-29 Super Tucano airplanes, flown by USAF trained Afghan Air Force pilots, went into action on 15 April.[clx] Also on 15 April Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, operating at part of Operation Inherent Resolve, was killed when the building he had been working in collapsed as a result of high winds.[clxi]

strikes15paril.jpg

Strikes carried out the week of 9 to 15 April.

On 18 April, Reuters newswire reported that the previous day, the coalition had conducted 20 airstrikes against IS militants in Syria and Iraq. Three strikes targeted two anti-aircraft pieces in Syria, and in Iraq, 17 strikes hit near eight different cities, destroying a weapons cache, communications facility, and safe house, a mortar position, a boat and a rocket team; basically par for the course in the ever increasing tempo of air operations.[clxii]

Conclusion

 

The coalition has dramatically accelerated its bombing campaign, conducting round-the-clock operations in Syria and Iraq. In the current phase of operations, heavy airstrikes are conducted daily against the major IS cities of Mosul, starting in February 2016, and the focus is now shifting to the IS capital, Raqqah, in Syria. More assets have been deployed to increase the pressure, including, in April, B-52 Stratofortress bombers, signaling a major escalation. The diplomatic and military effort to keep the coalition dedicated has yielded some results, with nations pledging either increased or continued support. However, by far the majority of strikes remain USAF led. The Russian campaign in Syria has been carefully orchestrated to prevent a conflict with coalition aircraft operating in the area, and is expected to maintain pressure if not at the tempo that had been carried out when Russia first intervened. President Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone conference on April 18, and both parties agreed to “increase coordination” in the Syrian air campaign.[clxiii]

            Meanwhile, NATO and US coalition airstrikes are carried out in Afghanistan- as part of Operation Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel- as well as in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya as part of the broader anti-al Qaida, anti-ISIL campaign. The US, NATO and the coalition have confirmed their intent to maintain troop presence in Afghanistan, and increasing deployments are being made to Iraq, where the US has suffered a handful of casualties, including combat fatalities. As a result of all this devastation from the air, the coalition has noticed a significant decrease of ISIL activity in Afghanistan.[clxiv] If true, this represents a major turning point since, in January 2016, the incoming Operation Resolute Support commander Lt. General John W. Nicholson described the situation in Afghanistan as “deteriorating” in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on January 28.[clxv] The difficult nature of the situation in Afghanistan remains evident, following  the major attacks in Kabul on 19 April.

However, Operation Inherent Resolve staff estimates suggest that the Islamic State has lost 40% of its former Syrian and Iraqi territory, with the CJTF-OIR spokesman stating that ISIL was “weakened” and efforts were now shifting to focus on fracturing the terrorist group.[clxvi] However, the OIR spokesman also pointed to the Iraqi Security Forces defensive posture at Fallujah, and noted that ISIL forces are putting up the staunchest resistance yet experienced, despite having suffered over 500 deaths from over 21 airstrikes in Iraq in the last week.[clxvii] At this time the coalition of nations involved in targeting ISIL in Iraq include the US, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In Syria, strikes have been carried out by the US, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

total.jpg

The Combined Forces Air Component Commander Air Power Statistics for March 2016 show large increases in overall sorties and, significantly, in strikes, from November through to February, with March still showing an overall increase over the preceding year.[clxviii]

In the following phase of operations, the focus will shift to further pulverizing Mosul and Raqqa, while the diplomatic agenda will accelerate to secure the modest gains made over the past six months. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if the ISF and coalition aligned Syrian forces can operate on the scale necessary to conduct the large-scale offensives required for Mosul or Raqqa, and the increasingly combat orientated presence of US Special Forces and Marines seems to suggest skepticism regarding the success of the training regime. The arrival of additional coalition, USAF, Army and USMC air assets, including Apache helicopters and other close attack aircraft, not to mention the B-52s, no doubt heralds a further expansion of the air war in the future.

[i] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/708442/department-of-defense-publishes-inherent-resolve-campaign-medal-guidance

[ii] http://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0814_Inherent-Resolve

[iii] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-blast-idUSKCN0X80PX ; http://www.mysask.com/portal/site/main/template.MAXIMIZE/?javax.portlet.tpst=635b2ff202604ea181fa421740315ae8_ws_MX&javax.portlet.prp_635b2ff202604ea181fa421740315ae8_viewID=story&javax.portlet.prp_635b2ff202604ea181fa421740315ae8_topic_display_name=World%20News&javax.portlet.prp_635b2ff202604ea181fa421740315ae8_topic_name=World&javax.portlet.prp_635b2ff202604ea181fa421740315ae8_news_item_id_key=37135419&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken

[iv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/632434/statement-from-secretary-carter-on-counter-isil-actions-by-the-united-kingdom-a

[v] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/633221/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-nov-13-airstrike-in-libya

[vi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/634187/dod-releases-report-on-enhancing-security-and-stability-in-afghanistan

[vii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/637498/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-secretary-carters-phone-c

[viii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/637499/readout-of-secretary-carters-visit-to-frances-aircraft-carrier-charles-de-gaull

[ix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/637503/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-the-king-of-bahrain

[x] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/637806/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-italian-minister-of-defense-roberta-pino

[xi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/638744/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-progress-in-the-fight-for-ramadi

[xii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/641779/dod-identifies-army-casualty ; http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/641725/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-carters-call-with-republic-of-korea-defense-min

[xiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/642709/general-officer-assignments

[xiv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/642261/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-his-majesty-king-abdullah-ii-of-jordan

[xv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/12/remarks-president-barack-obama-%E2%80%93-prepared-delivery-state-union-address

[xvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/642791/statement-from-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-us-navy-sailors-departure-fro

[xvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/643050/readout-of-deputy-secretary-works-visit-to-israel

[xviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/643424/deputy-secretary-of-defense-bob-works-visit-to-the-united-kingdom

[xix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/643442/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-australian-prime-minister-turnbull

[xx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/643681/joint-statement-on-counter-isil-cooperation-by-the-defense-ministers-of-austral

[xxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/643975/general-officer-assignments

[xxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/644017/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-iraqi-prime-minister-h

[xxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/644250/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-the-president-of-afghanistan-ashraf-g

[xxiv] http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/15/a29-super-tucanos-see-first-action-afghanistan.html

[xxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/645193/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-change-of-command-in-afghanistan

[xxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/645700/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[xxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/646430/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-the-netherlands-expansion-of-ai

[xxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/646918/general-officer-assignments

[xxix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/646920/general-officer-assignments

[xxx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/651341/general-officer-assignments

[xxxi] http://www.voanews.com/content/sixty-five-hundred-coalition-troops-in-iraq-us-wants-more/3172721.html

[xxxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/652687/department-of-defense-dod-releases-fiscal-year-2017-presidents-budget-proposal

[xxxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/653572/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-canadian-minister-of-n

[xxxiv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/654672/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-deputy-crown-prince-and-minister-of-d

[xxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/655507/general-officer-assignments

[xxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/655588/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-the-emirati-minister-o

[xxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/715735/coalition-kills-2-foreign-fighters-in-iraq-oir-spokesman-says

[xxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/656601/general-officer-assignments

[xxxix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/657534/statement-from-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-bombing-in-turkey

[xl] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/658458/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-libya-airstrike

[xli] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/658511/general-officer-assignments

[xlii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/669095/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-serbian-hostages-in-libya

[xliii] http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/February%202016%20AFG%20Map%20JPEG-01_4.jpg

[xliv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/671680/general-officer-announcements

[xlv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/682038/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[xlvi] http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/ISIS%27s%20Regional%20Campaign%20MAR2016-01_16.png

[xlvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/688855/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-german-minister-of-def

[xlviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/691544/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-the-presidents-nomination-of-ge

[xlix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/691544/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-the-presidents-nomination-of-ge

[l] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/694035/general-officer-assignments

[li] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017DODPOSTURE_FINAL_MAR17UpdatePage4_WEB.PDF

[lii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017DODPOSTURE_FINAL_MAR17UpdatePage4_WEB.PDF , p. 12

[liii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017DODPOSTURE_FINAL_MAR17UpdatePage4_WEB.PDF , p. 13

[liv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017DODPOSTURE_FINAL_MAR17UpdatePage4_WEB.PDF , p. 16

[lv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017DODPOSTURE_FINAL_MAR17UpdatePage4_WEB.PDF , p. 16 – 17

[lvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/698377/da-announces-deployment-of-fort-bragg-based-units

[lvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/700438/readout-of-deputy-secretary-works-meeting-with-danish-permanent-secretary-for-t

[lviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/703814/readout-of-deputy-secretary-works-meeting-with-norways-state-secretary-for-defe

[lix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/704104/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-the-kingdom-of-saudi-arabias-deputy-crow

[lx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/705322/general-officer-assignments

[lxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/707770/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-estonian-minister-of-d

[lxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/708442/department-of-defense-publishes-inherent-resolve-campaign-medal-guidance

[lxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/709886/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[lxiv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2016/04/05/president-obama-meets-combatant-commanders-and-joint-chiefs-staff

[lxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/721116/general-officer-assignments

[lxvi] https://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2016/04/13/president-obama-delivers-statement-isil

[lxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/721148/obama-counter-isil-campaign-accelerates

[lxviii] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/middleeast/ashton-carter-iraqi-officials-isis.html

[lxix] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/world/middleeast/us-plans-to-step-upmilitary-campaign-against-isis.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

[lxx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMMEv8UaIos

[lxxi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXvrfmzH05M

[lxxii] http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2016/04/18/idaho–10-wing-deploys-operation-inherent-resolve/83191594/

[lxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU6QuBjANiM

[lxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86-2OJqNmWU

[lxxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bl_yRKs9so

[lxxvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN9moYkOyHY

[lxxvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc-7mHjD-Tw

[lxxviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyn7PEWmdfM

[lxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spwHT0UfG2U ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz11ORkQxwY

[lxxx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyJR6mLJQA4

[lxxxi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hck20jtn5ZE

[lxxxii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=715A5f2bxwk

[lxxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SOSI4Jbxyc

[lxxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejFDF7wr_wU

[lxxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/637802/dod-identifies-air-force-casualties

[lxxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/637634/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-attack-against-us-service-membe

[lxxxvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n1bxTCpiJQ

[lxxxviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml9BnDYuwnY

[lxxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jhj28_eSDgY

[xc] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR8q_LyIQPI

[xci] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/world/middleeast/isis-ramadi-iraq.html

[xcii] http://www.inherentresolve.mil/News/StrikeReleases?platform=hootsuite

[xciii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOYzhlSIK-8

[xciv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dcTsQtnsT0

[xcv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tedSmieC2Oc

[xcvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43TG2VmfcuI

[xcvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb9NFDvU0gU

[xcviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/641779/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[xcix] http://media.defense.gov/2016/Jan/18/2001335607/-1/-1/0/160118-D-XT155-002.JPG

[c] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtFsttZhU68

[ci] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eN5vnS_NSY

[cii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55OUUrMbEUo

[ciii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IihM3fFwlnI

[civ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQmnFEFBTZA

[cv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PIC-7csbzo

[cvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/643431/dod-identifies-air-force-casualty

[cvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dwGTYbgUPU

[cviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZoRRKmujRc

[cix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/646338/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[cx] http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-isis-supply-lines-destroyed-extensive-russian-airforce-operations-1354-terrorist-facilities-targeted-over-7-day-period/5505288

[cxi] http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/JPG%20Russian%20Airstrikes%2029%20FEB%20-%2015%20MAR-01_5.jpg

[cxii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1E56Mkf_8s

[cxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNQHa0TLQqI

[cxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSbKaqtLKY8

[cxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRLZPqFgtJg

[cxvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jrfM0Uj_8g

[cxvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgc_f2dJyfk

[cxviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l9Jgx0KHUo

[cxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRU7yDU9C1o

[cxx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZcEzDYrrPQ

[cxxi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmEvB8QAwL4

[cxxii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUjjpLlNFpI

[cxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpUvB0KqxXg

[cxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIrTGBFHMaM

[cxxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mOdyUOu9uk

[cxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/688810/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-syria-airstrike

[cxxvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdArmuVODY0

[cxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/687305/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-airstrike-in-somalia

[cxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4QNu7Kl9qc

[cxxx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA4dxpZPMrU

[cxxxi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtYhuBO5lpM

[cxxxii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NXSj4bf1hU

[cxxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHPJ3uLaUa4

[cxxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aApCFfBIR5Y

[cxxxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MtYKsoBOlQ

[cxxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/698404/dod-identifies-marine-casualty

[cxxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/698359/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-casualty-in-iraq

[cxxxviii] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/us/politics/marine-base-in-northern-iraq-is-confirmed-by-pentagon.html

[cxxxix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/700454/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-yemen-airstrike

[cxl] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUlsgRqSEHk

[cxli] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkgRft0xAQ4

[cxlii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuYx9BeGIEs

[cxliii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX0-g8IfoaM

[cxliv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zuvLKDpR1k

[cxlv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7KkUOizhZc

[cxlvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/711634/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-airstrike-in-somalia

[cxlvii] http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/ISIS%20Sanctuary%2031%20MAR%202016-01_2.png

[cxlviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA14s5QzRxI

[cxlix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwrpyUYeDHc

[cl] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS6p8QOcVX8

[cli] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/715735/coalition-kills-2-foreign-fighters-in-iraq-oir-spokesman-says

[clii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/715735/coalition-kills-2-foreign-fighters-in-iraq-oir-spokesman-says

[cliii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/716447/coalition-strikes-hit-isil-terrorists-in-syria-iraq

[cliv] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/717094/military-strikes-continue-against-isil-in-syria-iraq

[clv] http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/717091/b-52-stratofortress-joins-coalition-team.aspx

[clvi] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/717213/coalition-strikes-target-isil-terrorists-in-syria-iraq

[clvii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/720818/counter-isil-strikes-hit-terrorists-in-syria-iraq

[clviii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/721537/marine-corps-aircraft-deploy-to-turkey-for-operation-inherent-resolve

[clix] http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/04/14/world/middleeast/ap-ml-iraq-mosul-dam-.html

[clx] http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/15/a29-super-tucanos-see-first-action-afghanistan.html

[clxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/722602/dod-identifies-air-force-casualty

[clxii] http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN0XF1D5

[clxiii] http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/latest-russia-calls-direct-syria-peace-talks-38478336

[clxiv] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/721629/number-of-isil-fighters-in-afghanistan-drops-significantly-official-says

[clxv] http://understandingwar.org/map/afghanistan-partial-threat-assessment-february-23-2016

[clxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/720245/coalition-focuses-on-dismantling-fragmenting-isil-oir-spokesman-says

[clxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/720245/coalition-focuses-on-dismantling-fragmenting-isil-oir-spokesman-says

[clxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/March_2016_Airpower_Summary.pdf

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The Effectiveness of Air Power against the Islamic State: Operation Inherent Resolve

The Effectiveness of Air Power against the Islamic State: Operation Inherent Resolve

Inherent_Resolve

The World

Introduction

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, US Central Command (CENTCOM)’s Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF), accelerated airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), with the United States Air Force and Navy leading a broad NATO and non-NATO country coalition in a vast air and ground campaign against ISIS. The complex nature of the coalition’s Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) has increased dramatically in recent months. Operation Inherent Resolve is stated to have officially commenced on 8 August 2014. The 16 month long campaign to degrade and destroy the Islamic State accelerated at the end of October 2015 when the USAF began targeting ISIL’s oil reserves and refineries: the black market oil controlled by ISIS is worth $40 million USD a month.[i] A topic of significant political controversy: how successful has the coalition’s strategic air campaign been?

Iraq

Theatre of Coalition operations, the Middle East.[ii]

Background, Building the Coalition

2013 had been a violent year for Iraq, with 8,868 Iraqis killed in terrorism related violence according to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.[iii] By June of 2014 ISIL forces had secured Mosul, looting Iraq’s central bank to the tune of $429 million, and were preparing to move against Baghdad.[iv] Syria’s Air Force commenced bombing operations against ISIL in Iraq on 24 June, and Iraq’s Air Force moved to purchase Sukhoi Su-25 fighters from Russia and Belarus, to bolster its air support capabilities following delays in the delivery of 36 F-16s from the USAF.[v] On 28 June 2014, US President Barack Obama requested $500 million from Congress to fund a training and advisory mission in Syria, and by this point there were 180 US military advisors deployed in Iraq.[vi] On 29 June 2014 ISIS proclaimed a caliphate, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph.[vii] Between 3 and 17 July, ISIL captured Syria’s al-Omar and Shaer oil and gas fields.[viii]

MapMay

Institute for the Study of War, ISIS situation map, June 2014.[ix]

ISISbattleAugust 8th, Operation Inherent Resolve commences.[x]

Operations commenced early on 8 August 2014, when two US Navy F/A-18s, in support of Kurdish forces, dropped a pair of 500 lb laser guided bombs (LGBs) on a “mobile artillery piece” near Erbil.[xi] Attacks continued into the morning of the 8th, with a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) destroyed an ISIL mortar that was being used to attack “U.S. personnel” involving in “assisting the Government of Iraq.”

LGB

US Navy F/A-18 strike against ISIL artillery.[xii] 500 lb LGB circled.

This airstrike was followed by another US Navy F/A-18 strike, involving four aircraft, against an ISIL convoy and mortar position, at 11:20 am, in which 8 LGBs were dropped.[xiii] The United Kingdom’s Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary, announced plans to support the US led efforts with humanitarian airdrops, and speculation followed that the UK would soon join in a military coalition with the United States.[xiv]

Shortly after these strikes, President Barack Obama issued a statement (at 9:30 pm EST – August 7th – at the White House), acknowledging that the situation at Erbil, where the US consulate is located, had become critical.[xv] The President described the impending massacre of Yezidi “women, men and children” stranded on Mount Sinjar, as justification for the strikes, and emphasized the low footprint of the “several hundred American advisors” then deployed to Iraq. The President followed up this announcement on August 11th, reiterating his commitment to supporting Iraq’s government with military and humanitarian assistance.[xvi] By August 10th France announced plans to join the coalition in providing arms to Kurdish Peshmerga forces.[xvii]

Meanwhile, on 9 August, US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, spoke in a telephone conference with the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, regarding military coordination for Iraq.[xviii]

p080714ps-0095

US President Barack Obama met with his National Security Team in the White House Situation Room on 7 August, 2014.[xix]

On August 21st, the US acknowledged that it had carried out a raid to rescue hostages held at Raqqa, including reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff two months prior, on 3 July. The Delta Force and 160 SOAR mission failed due to the hostages having been moved before the strike took place.[xx] On August 30th the United States Air Force (USAF) conducted a combined humanitarian airdrop and combat mission with support from Australian, French and UK aircraft at Amirli, where ISIL forces had besieged thousands of Shia Turkomens. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) played an important role in the humanitarian component of this mission. [xxi]

hagel and Dempsey

US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey photographed at the Pentagon on 21 August 2014.[xxii]

On 5 September 2014 US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a statement explaining the conclusions reached at the NATO Summit meeting held to discuss security challenges, including ISIL. The joint statement expressed the Alliance’s commitment to begin systematically degrading ISIL, militarily, ideologically, financially and politically, and established the groundwork for the development of an international coalition to affect this mission.[xxiii]

Airstrikes were carried out on 7 September under CENTCOM authority to counter ISIL forces threatening the Haditha Dam in Iraq’s Anbar province, and on 10 September President Obama approved plans to deliver $25 million in “military assistance” to the Iraqi and Kurdish governments.[xxiv] On 14 September, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott committed 400 Australian Air Force personnel and 200 troops plus “up to eight Super Hornet aircraft” to fight ISIS.[xxv] Abbott stressed that these forces formed part of a broad coalition, including the US, UK, France, Canada, Jordan, Bahrain and UAE. Airstrikes by France took place on 19 September. Belgian involvement was authorized for a month long trial period with F-16s operating out of Jordanian airfields, and Denmark also deployed seven aircraft and 250 personnel.[xxvi] Shortly thereafter, British Prime Minister David Cameron implored parliament to approve airstrikes which passed the house by a 524-43 vote.[xxvii]

18_nato_14

NATO Summit meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales, 4 September 2014.[xxviii]

US President Obama addressed the media at 10:11 am on 23 September from the White House south lawn to announce that the US had conducted strikes against ISIL targets in Syria. Raqqa, the proclaimed Syrian capital of ISIS, had been hit with Tomahawk cruise missiles, and airstrikes were flown by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar.[xxix]

fighter-jets-us

F-15E aircraft conduct strikes on the 23rd of September.[xxx]

President Obama stated that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar had joined with the US led coalition of “over 40 nations [that] have offered to help” in carrying out this mission. The President also stated that airstrikes had been carried out against al Qaeda operatives in Syria known as the Khorasan Group. Obama stressed his close consultation with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi in building the coalition to fight ISIL.[xxxi] The strikes continued through 24, 25 and 26 September. On 30 September RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft dropped Paveway IV bombs on heavy weapons positions and a technical in Northern Iraq.[xxxii]

Technical targeted by RAF aircraft, 30 September 2014.

tornado

RAF Tornados flew missions on 30 September from bases in Cyprus.[xxxiii]

Canada now joined the coalition on October 2nd, its commitment closely mirroring Australian deployments, in this case, CF-18 fighters, refueling aircraft and surveillance assets.[xxxiv] On 14 October, ISIS forces captured Hit, and on 24 October the ISF (Iraq Security Forces) launched Operation Ashura to recapture Jurf al-Sakhar, backed by 22 US strikes.[xxxv]

iraq-security

Iraq’s Special Operations Forces (ISOF) deploy for a patrol to Jurf al-Sakhar, south of Baghdad.[xxxvi]

us-airstrikes-isis

Turkish Kurds near the Mursitpinar border crossing watch coalition strikes on Kobani.

us-airstrikes-isis (1).jpg

Heavy airstrikes occurred against ISIL forcing controlling the town of Kobani on October 14th, 2014.[xxxvii]

For ten days CENTCOM hosted an anti-ISIL strategy conference, from November 12th to the 21st (22nd) at the MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Representatives from 33 nations attended, with almost 200 “coalition participants” taking part. Planning was led by Brigadier General Gary C. Deankin, British Army, and Deputy Director of US Central Command Strategy, Plans and Policy division. According to General Lloyd J. Austin III, CENTCOM commander, the focus of the conference was on developing plans to support Iraq’s security forces.[xxxviii]

On 23 November the ISF defended against ISIS attacks on Ramadi.[xxxix] By 30 November KSF (Kurdish Security Forces), Peshmerga fighters, had recaptured villages in the Gweir and Makhmour area, 28 miles south of Erbil.[xl] Between December 17 and 27 the KSF launched an operation to break the siege of Mount Sinjar.[xli] On 19 December Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby announced that coalition airstrikes had killed Haji Mutazz, one of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s chief deputies, amongst others, including Abd al Basit, ISIL’s chief of military operations in Iraq, and Radwin Talib, ISIL’s military governor for Mosul.[xlii]

terry

CJTF-OIR commander Lieutenant General James L. Terry announces the high profile airstrikes in December 2014.[xliii]

By 9 February 2015 the coalition had conducted over 2,000 airstrikes against ISIL. A multinational conference was held February 3rd and 4th to discuss strategic planning, with Colonel Ryan Jurykowski, CJTF-OIR deputy chief of plans, and Lieutenant General James L. Terry, commander CJTF-OIR in attendance.[xliv] By this point in the war the Task Force had established a twitter page (@CJTFOIR).[xlv] Also on the 9th, airstrikes were carried out near Mosul, with Kurdish Peshmerga forces capturing three bridgeheads over of the Tigris River. These operations, taking place between 6 and 8 February, involved four Close Air Support (CAS) strikes, as well as Coalition Advise and Assist (A2) ground teams. Lt. General James Terry called the operation an example of “how Daesh can be defeated” through the Coalition’s Aviation and Advise and Assist (A3) strategy.[xlvi] Meanwhile, on February 13th, the ISF, supported by coalition surveillance troops, stopped an ISIL attack against the Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province, killing the eight attackers. 800 ISF personnel were receiving training at the Al Asad base.[xlvii]

Between 22 February and the first week of March, 26 airstrikes were carried out in support of ISF and Tribal Fighters (TF) actions against ISIL positions around Al Baghdadi, securing three bridges over the Euphrates River. Further gains were made along the road to Hadithah.[xlviii] On March 9th the Kurds captured an important ridgeline west of Kirkuk as part of an operation to secure the Kirkuk oilfields. CJTF-OIR airstrikes destroyed “ten enemy fighting positions, five tactical units and ten ISIL weapons systems” in support of this operation.[xlix] Videos from the strikes carried out March 9 – 13 at Mosul, Fallujah, and Kirkuk, were posted to CENTCOM’s youtube page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNEEHeS9Y2yFVLbWGeHhbYA).[l]

During March 24th and 25th, coalition aircraft conducted strike and surveillance missions in support of ISF forces engaged in liberating Tikrit.[li] Iranian military officials assisted in the massive 30,000 ISF strong Tikrit operation. Air support was carried out by Iraq’s Air Force.

tikrit

ISF offensive at Tikrit.[lii]

Video from some of these strikes was released the following day, with more footage to follow on the 31st.[liii] Attacks and counterattacks took place at Kisik, Kirkuk, Bayji and Habbaniyah, in the shape of Vehicle IEDs (VIED), and a dozen suicide bomb attacks. The coalition’s forces continued their “ongoing advise and assist operations, airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.”[liv] By March 30th, the coalition had 1,500 troops in theatre, involved in training 4,800 ISF soldiers, the majority of that buildup commencing in the first week of March.

Training

Cavalry trooper from the 82nd Airborne Division training soldiers from Iraq’s 15th Division.[lv] Training video was released on April 6th.[lvi] In Syria, Major General Michael Nagata led the training effort.[lvii] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgv7fFrpktGrcJtanYifRYw

april2015

The Islamic State as of April 2015.[lviii]

Between April 1st and 9th the coalition conducted 47 airstrikes in support of an ISF battle at the Bayji Oil Refinery.[lix] A large operation held in Kirkuk was announced on 19 April in which 11 villages were re-captured from ISIL with the assistance of coalition air support.[lx] A major coalition conference was held April 27th to May 1st at MacDill Air Force Base, with representatives from 39 nations attending.[lxi] Videos of airstrikes at Kobani and Al Asad (19-20 April) in Syria were released on 27 April.[lxii] A further video of an airstrike against ISIL positions near Mosul that occurred on May 4th were released on 13 May.[lxiii] On May 16th US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter issued a statement indicating that ISIL commander Abu Sayyaf had been killed in a US SOCCOM (Delta Force) raid, and his wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured.[lxiv]

            On May 7th CENTCOM announced that it had begun training “vetted” Syrian opposition fighters with the support of the now 60 nation strong “Global Coalition to Counter ISIL”.[lxv] Between May 19th and the 22nd the ISF conducted an attack in preparation for seizing the contested Bayji Oil Refinery, in a battle involving IEDs, suicide VIEDs, and heavy weapon and rocket fire. Chief of staff of CJTF-OIR at this point was Brigadier General Thomas Weidley.[lxvi] Lt. General James Terry, CJTF-OIR commander, was displeased with ISIL gains in Ramadi.[lxvii] During that same period another conference was held (May 19-20), with representatives from 21 nations in attendance. By this point in the conflict the coalition had conducted over 4,100 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.[lxviii] On June 10th 2015 the Pentagon announced that it had been authorized to deploy another 450 US “non-combat” personnel to Taqaddum Air Base. US personnel now numbered 3,550.[lxix] On June 26th CENTCOM commander General Lloyd J. Austin gave his condolences to the family of Iraqi Brigadier General Rais Mohammed Sadiq who was killed in a training accident while operating with the USAF in Arizona.[lxx]

            On July 4th the coalition conducted 16 interdiction airstrikes against ar-Raqqah, the ISIS capital in Syria.[lxxi] CJTF-OIR’s new chief of staff, Brigadier General Kevil Killea, announced that between August 26th and 28th the coalition had conducted airstrikes (“13 deliberate and 12 dynamic”) over three days to support Peshmerga operations east of Tuz, northern Iraq.[lxxii] Declassified video of a strike targeting a VEID was posted the same day.[lxxiii]

mapseptember

ISW ISIS situation map, September 2015.[lxxiv]

Iraq’s Air Force now received delivery of the much delayed F-16s, the first strikes by the new fighters was carried out on 6 September. The first four F-16 aircraft had been purchased in July.[lxxv]

On 8 September a stadium in Ramadi was bombed: the arena was being used to marshal ISIL fighters.[lxxvi] On 21 September CENTCOM announced that the training mission for Syria had produced 70 graduates, shortly dispatched to join the New Syrian Forces. On the 23rd, airstrikes destroyed two VIED factories near Mosul.[lxxvii] Video was posted simultaneously.[lxxviii]

sept23

Airstrikes pummel ISIL controlled buildings as part of coalition operations near Al Huwayjah, September 23, 2015[lxxix]

50 airstrikes were carried out in support of a KSF operation to clear ISIL positions in the villages west of Kirkuk, starting on 30 September.[lxxx]

NATO Defense Ministers met in Brussels on 8 October to discuss the ISIL mission, and there were questions about Russian involvement, considering that Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace on recent occasions.[lxxxi] As of 8 October US Defense Department figures provided by Central Command (CENTCOM), indicate that 13,781 targets have been destroyed, include 126 tanks, 354 HMMMVs, and 3,930 “fighting positions”, 3,956 buildings, plus 4,622 undisclosed “other targets”.[lxxxii] US Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, at this point approved weapons deliveries to select members of the New Syrian Forces.[lxxxiii]

oil2

On 16 October the coalition bombed the Qayyarah Oil Refinery in Iraq.[lxxxiv] Attacks against the Khorasan Group of al-Qaeda continued with the demise of Saudi national and al-Qaeda commander in Syria, “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” Sanafi al-Nasr (Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh).[lxxxv] A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the US and Russia regarding access to Syrian air space.[lxxxvi] USAF B-1 bombers targeted the Omar oil field in Syria, worth between $2 and 5 million USD a month to the Islamic State. The strike was carried out on 21 October, and destroyed 26 targets.[lxxxvii] On October 22nd KSF and SOCOM teams raided an ISIL prison near Hawijah, Iraq, freeing 70 hostages, and capturing 5 prisoners.[lxxxviii]

prison

The prison was then demolished.[lxxxix] On 23 October, Lt. General Sean B. MacFarland, commander CJTF-OIR, reported that the task force had suffered a casualty, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, while three of Iraq’s “special operations soldiers” were wounded.[xc] On October 27 Ash Carter met with Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Defence Minister and the two discussed Israeli and regional security concerns. Israel is expected to acquire F-35 capability in 2016.[xci]

By 31 October 2015 Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) involved between 17,592 and 22,286 sorties flown for 2015, plus between 6,663 and 6,292 sorties for 2014, of which, 8,064 (2015) and 2,040 (2014) sorties involved weapon launches.[xcii] As of 31 October, Operation Inherent Resolve is estimated to have cost $5 billion, with $11 million spent everyday over 450 days of operation.[xciii]

sorties

Total Sorties as of 31 October 2015.[xciv]

costs

Cost breakdown by US DOD as of 9 November 2015.[xcv]

 

Recent Developments

The expansion of ISIS terrorist activity around the globe coincides with the escalation of the Global Coalition’s devastating air campaign. Senior coalition military and political leadership have been clear that their strategy is one of persistence and coalition building, to contrast the “shock and awe” air campaigns carried out against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya during the decade 2001-2011. Nevertheless, the US remains responsible for the majority of strikes, with Russia and the coalition following suit. The UK has carried out 350 strikes since committing RAF assets in October 2014, and plans to escalate its involvement in Iraq.[xcvi]

russiaoil.jpg

Russia, in particular, has joined with the coalition’s efforts to target ISIS oil revenue, releasing video of strikes carried out against an ISIS oil refinery on 19 November.[xcvii] Over the past week Russia also carried out strikes with Tu-22M3 bombers and launched 12 cruise missiles against Aleppo and Idlib in Syria, followed by raids against Raqqa and Deir-Ez-Zur, announcing that the strikes had destroyed ISIS HQ buildings, bomb factories and three oil refineries.[xcviii]

ISIS escalated the scale and frequency of its terrorist attacks in particular following Russian intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[xcix] Between November 7th and 13th the coalition carried out 30 strikes, destroying 101 ISIL targets,[c] including the killing of 27 year-old British national Mohammed Emwazi, “Jihadi John” the suspected top executioner for ISIS.[ci] In addition, the US targeted Abu Nabil, – Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi – an Iraqi and al Qaeda operative in Libya.[cii] Videos of the strikes from November 8th were uploaded to the CJTF-OIR youtube page on November 14th, detailing the destruction of ISIL petroleum resources (Operation Tidal Wave II).[ciii] Further video was uploaded on 13 November showing coalition airstrikes carried out on 11 November in support of Peshmerga forces fighting at Sinjar.[civ]

sinjar2 

            Securing Sinjar: KSF cuts the communication line between Raqqa and Mosul.[cv]

strikes

CJTF-OIR Twitter graphic showing location and number of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq between 7 and 13 November, 2015.[cvi]

strike6

strike11

strikes4

Frames from declassified CJTF-OIR surveillance video posted to youtube, showing the destruction of ISIL controlled buildings on 11 November near Sinjar, Iraq; Operation Free Sinjar, which had been prepared by a month of air bombardment (involving 250 strikes).[cvii] By November 12th, the US plus the coalition had conducted 8,125 strikes (5,321 in Iraq and 2,804 in Syria). Of these, 6,353 strikes had been conducted by the US (3,695 in Iraq and 2,658 in Syria), the US doing almost all of the heavy lifting in Syria, the rest of the coalition counting for only 146 strikes there, compared to 1,626 in Iraq. By November 14, the Global Coalition had flown 57,301 sorties.[cviii]

 obamaNovember15

President Barack Obama meets with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday, 15 November 2015, with National Security Advisor Susan Rice in attendance.[cix]

Ash Carter spoke with France’s Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the two discussed intensifying the campaign.[cx] The the coalition was continuing its bombing mission, conducting 10 strikes in Syria with “attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft.” Another 13 strikes, coordinated with Iraq Security Forces (ISF) including rocket artillery hit ISIL targets, on November 15.

iraq2

ISIS territory as of October 22.[cxi]

situation2015

The political situation on November 15th, grey represents area controlled by ISIS.[cxii]

At Abu Kamal 116 ISIL fuel trucks were destroyed, while near Al Hasakah two ISIL positions were destroyed. At Al Hawl two strikes destroyed five buildings and a vehicle. At ar Raqqah one strike destroyed an ISIL storage depot. Another strike near Mar’a hit “an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.” Near Al Baghdadi two strikes destroyed a Heavy Machine Gun (HMG), and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) cache. At Fallujah a building was destroyed, and at Albu Hayat an “ISIL tactical unit” was hit. Another enemy unit was hit at Kisik, as well as at Qayyarah where a weapons cache was also destroyed. Five strikes at Ramadi hit “six separate ISIL command and control nodes”. Near Sinjar two strikes destroyed four ISIL vehicles. The strikes were carried out without loss.[cxiii]

rafale2

One of ten Dassault Rafale aircraft surged to attack Raqqa.[cxiv]

Operation Tidal Wave II continues. French Air Force Rafale and Mirage 2000 aircraft flying out of the UAE and Jordan sortied for three days, targeting Rakka, and Mosul.[cxv] French President François Holland has dispatched the CVN Charles de Gaulle to deploy its 24 strong naval aviation wing. USAF capacity has increased with access to the Turkish Incirlik base for A-10 and F-15 aircaft.[cxvi] On November 19th US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced plans to escalate the air campaign amid calls from the Republican controlled US Congress to deploy additional ground forces to support anti-ISIL security forces.[cxvii] Carter stressed the potential for greater cooperation with Russia, in particular.

[i] Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Steps Up Its Attacks on ISIS-Controlled Oil Fields in Syria,” The New York Times, November 12, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/13/us/politics/us-steps-up-its-attacks-on-isis-controlled-oil-fields-in-syria.html.

[ii] https://twitter.com/hashtag/TIDALWAVEII?src=hash https://www.google.ca/maps/@35.2475487,40.4147392,1339609m/data=!3m1!1e3 http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/AfghanistanTopographicalMap_full.jpg

[iii] Mu Xuequan, “18 Killed, 46 Wounded in Attacks in Iraq’s Capital.,” Xinhuanet, January 29, 2014, Global edition, sec. World, news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-01/30/c_126080379.htm.

[iv] Kathleen Caulderwood, “Mosul Bank Robbery Isn’t The Only Thing Funding ISIS,” International Business Times, June 13, 2014, http://www.ibtimes.com/mosul-bank-robbery-isnt-only-thing-funding-isis-1601124.

[v] Martin Chulov and Fazel Hawramy, “Isis: Maliki Hails Syrian Air Raids in Iraq as Leaving Both States ‘Winners,’” The Guardian, June 27, 2014, sec. World news, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/nouri-maliki-admits-syria-air-raids-isis-iraq. ; Alaa Shahine and Selcan Hacaoglu, “Iraq Buys Used Russian Fighter Jets Amid U.S. Delivery Delay,” Bloomberg.com, June 26, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-06-26/iraq-buys-used-russian-fighter-jets-amid-u-s-delivery-delay.

[vi] jpost.com staff, “Obama Seeks $500 Million from Congress to Train ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels to Fight ISIS,” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com, June 28, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Obama-seeks-500-million-from-congress-to-train-moderate-Syrian-rebels-to-fight-ISIS-360845.

[vii] Adam Withnall, “Isis ‘Declares New Islamic State’ in Middle East,” The Independent, June 30, 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-declares-new-islamic-state-in-middle-east-with-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-as-emir-removing-iraq-and-9571374.html.

[viii] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/islamic-state-fighters-seize-syria-gas-field-2014717134148345789.html ; http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/03/us-syria-crisis-islamicstate-idUSKBN0F80SO20140703

[ix] http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/isis-sanctuary-map-june-10-2014

[x] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11023094/Britain-considers-air-strikes-to-avert-genocide-in-Iraq.html

[xi] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16878

[xii] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/transcoded/c/c7/U.S._FA-18_Super_Hornet_strikes_in_Iraq_August_8_2014.ogv/U.S._FA-18_Super_Hornet_strikes_in_Iraq_August_8_2014.ogv.360p.webm

[xiii] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16879

[xiv] Ben Farmer et al., “Britain Considers Air Strikes to Avert Genocide in Iraq,” August 8, 2014, sec. News, ;http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11023094/Britain-considers-air-strikes-to-avert-genocide-in-Iraq.html.

[xv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/07/statement-president

[xvi] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/11/statement-president-iraq

[xvii] France 24, “Middle East – France to Consider Arming Iraqi Kurds Battling ISIS,” France 24, August 11, 2014, 24, http://www.france24.com/en/20140810-france-consider-arming-iraq-kurds-battling-isis-fabius/.

[xviii] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16881

[xix]https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/p080714ps-0095.jpg

[xx] Nicholas Schmidle, “Inside the Failed Raid to Save Foley and Sotloff,” The New Yorker, September 5, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/inside-failed-raid-free-foley-sotloff.

[xxi] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16909

[xxii] http://www.voanews.com/content/islamic-state-beyond-just-a-terrorist-group-says-hagel/2423915.html

[xxiii] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16922

[xxiv] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=16927 ; Roberta Rampton, “Obama Authorizes $25 Million in Immediate Military Aid to Iraq: White House,” Reuters, September 10, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/10/us-iraq-crisis-obama-militaryaid-idUSKBN0H52BH20140910.

[xxv] ABC.net, “Australia Commits Military Force to International Fight against IS Militants,” Text, ABC News, (September 14, 2014), http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-14/australia-to-deploy-military-force-to-uae/5742498.

[xxvi] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/26/denmark-isis_n_5887230.html

[xxvii] http://www.newsweek.com/britain-belgium-and-denmark-join-global-coalition-against-islamic-state-273570 ; http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2014-09-26-EU–Europe-Iraq/id-ec4ff073827b494a95ffb0ed438b04fb

[xxviii]https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/18_nato_14.jpg

[xxix] http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/23/world/meast/syria-isis-airstrikes-explainer/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

[xxx] http://www.newsweek.com/britain-belgium-and-denmark-join-global-coalition-against-islamic-state-273570

[xxxi] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/statement-president-airstrikes-syria

[xxxii] https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raf-tornados-strike-first-islamic-state-targets-404310/

[xxxiii] https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raf-tornados-strike-first-islamic-state-targets-404310/

[xxxiv] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/canada-joins-us-uk-airstrikes-against-isis-iraq-1468426 ; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29483160

[xxxv] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraqi-forces-recapture-key-towns-isis-following-22-us-air-strikes-1471756

[xxxvi] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraqi-forces-recapture-key-towns-isis-following-22-us-air-strikes-1471756

[xxxvii] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-battle-kobani-becomes-spectator-sport-kurds-turkey-watch-air-strikes-1469908

[xxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20141116-CENTCOM-News-Release-Coalition-Planning-Conference-in-Support-of-Counter-ISIL-Operations-Concludes.pdf

[xxxix] http://www.voanews.com/content/us-plans-to-arm-sunni-tribesmen-in-iraq/2531289.html

[xl] http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/11/30/kurdish-fightersretakefiveiraqivillagesfromisil.html

[xli] http://gulfnews.com/news/mena/iraq/kurds-press-sinjar-operation-in-north-iraq-1.1429595

[xlii] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/19/several-top-isis-leaders-killed-in-iraq/

[xliii] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/19/several-top-isis-leaders-killed-in-iraq/

[xliv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Coalition-Conference-held-to-discuss-OIR.pdf

[xlv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Coalition-Conference-held-to-discuss-OIR.pdf

[xlvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Bridgehead-Press-Release.pdf

[xlvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Press-Release-Al-Asad-Attack.pdf

[xlviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/ISF-Take-Al-Baghdadi-release-March-06.pdf

[xlix] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Peshmerga-Fighters-take-Key-ridgeline-Press-Release.pdf

[l] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/CENTCOM-Media-Advisory-Airstrike-Video-in-Support-of-Operation-Inherent-Resolve.pdf

[li] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20150305_-_CENTCOM_News_Release_-_Video_of_Coalition_Airstrikes_Against_ISIL_in_Tikrit.pdf ; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31699632

[lii] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31699632

[liii] https://www.dvidshub.net/video/396141/cjtf-oir-airstrike-daish-controlled-bridge-25-mar-15 http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20150309_-_CENTCOM_Media_Advisory_-_Airstrike_Video_in_Support_of_Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Now_Available.pdf

[liv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/ISF_blunt_ISIL_attacks.pdf

[lv] https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1843557/iraqi-soldiers-receive-class-82nd-abn#.Vkwav9-rSRs

[lvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/Video_of_BPC_Operations_in_Iraq_now_available.pdf

[lvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150402_-_CENTCOM_News_Release_–_Correction_to_the_Record.pdf

[lviii]http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/20150410_ISIL_Map_Unclass_Approved.pdf

[lix] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Government_of_Iraq_in_full_control_of_Bayji_Oil_Refinery.pdf

[lx] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Peshmerga_Forces_Seize_More_ISIL_Held_Terrain_-_v3.pdf

[lxi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150404_-_CENTCOM_News_Release_–_CENTCOM_hosts_Coalition_Planning_Conference_27_April_-_1_May.pdf

[lxii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150405_-_CENTCOM_Media_Advisory_-_Airstrike_Video_in_Support_of_Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Now_Available.pdf

[lxiii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150505_-_CENTCOM_Media_Advisory_-_Airstrike_Video_in_Support_of_Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Now_Available.pdf

[lxiv] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17274

[lxv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150503-_CENTCOM_News_Release_-_Initial_Class_of_Syrian_Opposition_Forces_Begin_Training.pdf

[lxvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150515_-_Media_Release_-_ISFBOR.pdf

[lxvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Coalition_United_to_defeat_Daesh.pdf

[lxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Coalition_United_to_defeat_Daesh.pdf

[lxix] http://archive.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17328

[lxx] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150601-CENTCOM_Media_Advisory-Statement_by_the_Commander_US_Central_Command.pdf?SpeechID=1949

[lxxi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150704-Media_Release-Coalition_Airstrikes_degrade_ISIL_freedom_of_movement_in_Syria.pdf?SpeechID=1949

[lxxii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150828_Media_Release_Peshmerga_Successfully_Clears_Territory_and_Liberates_Villages.pdf

[lxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSNPupGz_T8&feature=youtu.be

[lxxiv] http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/isis-sanctuary-map-september-15-2015

[lxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/616367/statement-on-iraq-conducting-its-first-counter-isil-air-operations-using-f-16-f

[lxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150908-Media-Release-Coalition-airstrikes-destroy-an-ISIL-staging-area-and-weapons-cache.pdf

[lxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150924-Media_Release-Mosul_VBIED_Network_Airstrikes.pdf

[lxxviii] https://youtu.be/RfDTKaIeD4I

[lxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZX-b0buK6A&feature=youtu.be

[lxxx] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20150930-News_Release-Peshmerga_Offensive-FINAL.PDF

[lxxxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/622516/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-turkish-minister-of-defense-vecdi-gon

[lxxxii] US Defense Department, “Operation Inherent Resolve: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists,” Summary, (October 31, 2015), http://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0814_Inherent-Resolve.

[lxxxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/622610/statement-on-syria

[lxxxiv] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151016-News_Release-Qayyarah_Oil_Refinery-FINAL.pdf

[lxxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/624656/statement-on-airstrike-in-syria-that-killed-sanafi-al-nasr

[lxxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/624923/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-memorandum-of-understandi

[lxxxvii] Gordon and Schmitt, “U.S. Steps Up Its Attacks on ISIS-Controlled Oil Fields in Syria.”

[lxxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151022-01_CENTCOM_News_Release-CENTCOM_CDR_Statement_on_Hostage_Rescue.pdf

[lxxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBJZmI1O2T4&feature=youtu.be

[xc] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151023-Media%20Release-Operation_Inherent_Resolve_Casualty.pdf ; http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151025_-_News_Release_-_Airstrike_Destroys_ISIL_Prison_-_FINAL.pdf

[xci] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/626144/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-israeli-minister-of-defense-yaalon

[xcii]http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/31_October_2015.pdf

[xciii] US Defense Department, “Operation Inherent Resolve: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists.”

[xciv]http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/31_October_2015.pdf

[xcv]http://www.defense.gov/portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/costUpdates/ISIL_Master_Report-31Oct15.png

[xcvi] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3321934/Britain-joins-fight-RAF-steps-bombing-campaign-against-ISIS-wake-Paris-attacks-killing-30-terrorists.html

[xcvii] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/video-shows-russian-air-strike-explode-isis-oil-refinery-a6740256.html

[xcviii] http://oracleherald.com/2015/11/18/russia-russian-federation-bombards-raqqa-isis-hq.html

[xcix] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/17/world/middleeast/map-isis-attacks-around-the-world.html?_r=1

[c] https://twitter.com/CJTFOIR/status/666274656014454784

[ci] Robert Verkaik, “Jihadi John Dead: Mohammed Emwazi Has Been Killed, but Others Will Replace Him – Times of India,” The Times of India, November 16, 2015, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Jihadi-John-dead-Mohammed-Emwazi-has-been-killed-but-others-will-replace-him/articleshow/49798432.cms.   ; http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/628777/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-airstrike-in-raqqa-syria

[cii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/628954/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-strike-in-libya

[ciii] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgv7fFrpktGrcJtanYifRYw

[civ] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDNb59ng54Y

[cv] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/12/world/middleeast/the-iraq-isis-conflict-in-maps-photos-and-video.html

[cvi] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CT8VRNMVAAAIo0M.jpg:large   ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UObneqgeME

[cvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDNb59ng54Y ; http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/20151112-News%20Release-Peshmerga_Sinjar_Offensive_E.pdf

[cviii] https://youtu.be/RfDTKaIeD4I

[cix]https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/p111515ps-1198.jpg

[cx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/628974/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-french-minister-of-defense-jean-yves-le

[cxi] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/12/world/middleeast/the-iraq-isis-conflict-in-maps-photos-and-video.html

[cxii] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Syria_and_Iraq_2014-onward_War_map.png

[cxiii]https://www.facebook.com/CJTFOIR/posts/1635460616720073?utm_source=hootsuite

[cxiv] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3319696/French-fighter-jets-carry-massive-airstrike-operation-ISIS-stronghold-city-Raqqa-Syria.html

[cxv] Nathalie Guibert, “Raids aériens pour « casser la machine » Etat islamique,” Le Monde.fr, November 18, 2015, sec. Société, http://www.lemonde.fr/attaques-a-paris/article/2015/11/18/raids-aeriens-pour-casser-la-machine-etat-islamique_4812441_4809495.html.

[cxvi] Ibid.

[cxvii] Eliza Collins, “Defense Secretary Ash Carter Signals an Escalation against ISIL,” POLITICO, November 19, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ash-carter-isil-syria-216049.

Hawker Sea Fury Korean Operations

Sea Fury1

Sea Fury WE790 [796?] supposedly from HMAS Sydney serviced by USMC mechanics.i

Originally an RAF fighter, the Fury contract was abandoned by the Air Force but pursued by the Admiralty as a Seafire replacement.ii The prototype flew on 21 February 1945.iii The carrier capable prototype flew in October 1945.iv Deck landing trials were carried out on HMS Ocean in August 1946.v

The Sea Fury F10 entered service in August 1947 with 807 Squadron, and the F11 with 802 Squadron in May 1948.vi The Sea Fury was operated by Fleet Air Arm (and RAN) squadrons 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 808, 811, 871 and 898.vii During the Korean War, Sea Furies operated with squadron nos “802 (Ocean), 807 (Theseus), 801, 804 (Glory), 805 and 808 (Sydney).viii

 Sea Fury2

Sea Fury FB 11, VX642 with ordinance display. Note the two 45 gallon drop tanks which increased the aircraft’s range from 700 to 1040 miles.ix

The aircraft was armed with 4 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons and could carry up to 2,000 lbs of ordinance (1,000 or 500 lb bombs) or 12 76mm (60 lb) rockets.x Empty, the aircraft weighed 9,240 lbs and fully loaded 12,500 lbs. Powered by a Bristol Centaurus XVIIC 18 cylinder twin-row radial engine developing 2,480 horsepower, the aircraft could make 460 mph (400 knots) and ascend to 10,900 meters.xi

 Sea Fury3

Supermarine Seafire.xii

The North Korean People’s Army forced the withdrawal of the Southern government from Seoul on 27 June 1950. Rear-Admiral Sir William G. Andrewes, aboard HMS Belfast, was operating with the carrier HMS Triumph in Japanese waters at the time and moved to respond.xiii Following the UN mandate for assistance to the Republic of Korea on 27 June the commonwealth forces of Australia, New Zealand and Canada joined with the United Kingdom and the United States as the major naval power in the region.xiv USN Vice-Admiral C. Turner Joy assumed overall command and placed Andrewes as commander Task Group 96.8, West Korea Support Group.xv Triumph joined Task Force 77, USN Pacific Fleet, along with USS Valley Forge under command of Rear-Admiral John M. Hoskins USN.xvi The first strikes were carried out on 3 July, and on 28 July the first FAA casualty was suffered when a Seafire from 800 (Triumph) Squadron was mistakenly shot down by a USAF B-29xvii.

 Sea Fury4

A flight of Fireflies and Sea Furies.xviii

The Sea Fury was first used to in combat to support Fairey Firelies on ASW patrols. HMS Theseus arrived in the Yellow Sea carrying 23 Furies and 12 Fireflies from 807 and 813 Squadrons and conducted its first patrols and strikes on 9 October 1950.xix The first Sea Fury strike involved six aircraft (and four Fireflies) carrying mixed ordinance of 500 lb bombs and rockets, led by Lt Cdr Stovin-Bradford against targets at Paengyong-do.xx That afternoon five Sea Furies and four Fireflies attacked the harbour at Chinnampo.xxi Loadouts favoured rockets as the weight of bombs necessitated higher steaming speeds than the Theseus was capable of attaining (21 knots with rockets, 28 with bombs).xxii

 Sea Fury5

A raid in progress on warehouses on the waterfront at Chinnampo in North Korea by Fairey Firefly aircraft from HMS THESEUS.”xxiii

Day two on station, Theseus launched a strike against the Chang-you railway bridge, the flight consisting of Fireflies escorted by a pair of Furies and resulting in significant damage to the bridge.xxiv A simultaneous flight targeting the surrounding area resulted in the destruction of Sea Fury VW628, although the pilot, who ditched the aircraft successfully, was rescued by helicopter.xxv Deteriorating weather on the afternoon of 11 October forced Theseus to leave the area and refuel. Strikes were launched against the Chang-yong area later the following day.xxvi For the next several days attacks were made against targets in the Cinnampo area, including the harbour where the Sea Furies attacked Korean junks believed to be mine layers.xxvii After refuelling at Inchon, Theseus moved to the Sinanju-Chonju-Sonchon area of operations and sortied aircraft on 20 October to attack Chongju.xxviii

Sea Fury6

Source.xxix

By mid-December Theseus‘s Sea Furies were attacking Pyongyang. Weather conditions worsened and snow was regularly cleared from the flight deck.xxx Despite the poor conditions, Sea Fury raids against communications (enemy trucks) were carried out near Chongchon river and the Hangju-Sariwon area.xxxi

Sea Fury7

Sea Fury VW546 aboard HMS Glory.xxxii

In 1951 Rear-Admiral Alan K. Scott-Moncrieff replaced Andrewes (promoted to Vice-Admiral).xxxiii HMS Glory replaced Theseus on 23 April 1951 and continued operations with the 14th Carrier Air Group. Glory‘s arrival coincided with the beginning of the Chinese spring offensive.xxxiv Glory was relieved by HMAS Sydney in September 1951 and the latter flew 2,366 sorties over 43 flying days- interrupted by Typhoon Ruth.xxxv Glory returned in January 1952, and was relieved by Ocean in the summer.xxxvi

During these two tours, Glory‘s air group conducted 5000 sorties.xxxvii Between 1950 and 1953 the four Sea Fury equipped carriers were supported by HMS Unicorn which ferried fresh equipment from the fleet base at Singapore the 2,500 miles to the theatre of operations.xxxviii

 Sea Fury8

HMS Theseus leaving Malta after the war in July 1953.xxxix

Some measure of the intensity of operations can be made by examining the sortie record of HMS Theseus from the beginning of hostilities to the end of March 1951.xl Between 9 October and 5 November 1950, Theseus‘s Furies (avg 19.3) made 492 sorties. From 5 December to 26 December, 423 Fury sorties were flown by an average of 19.6 aircraft. From 7 January 1951 to 23 March, 20.8 Furies flew 718 sorties, for a total of 1634 sorties over 98 days of operation (of which 65 were suitable for flying). All told, Theseus launched 3,500 sorties on 86 days during its seven month deployment.xli During the first six months, Theseus‘s air wing dropped 829,000 lbs of explosives and fired 7,317 rockets and “half a million rounds of 20mm ammunition.”xlii In recognition of these efforts, Theseus and the 17th Carrier Air Group was awarded the Rear-Admiral Sir Denis Boyd trophy for 1950 for “outstanding feat of naval aviation”.xliii

Similar feats were achieved by HMS Glory, for example, in September 1951 the 14th CAG set a record for 66 offensive and 18 defensive sorties in a day, and in March 1953 Glory‘s air group set a record for 123 sorties in one day, equal to that of HMS Ocean, and resulting in the destruction of “seven bridges, 28 buildings , and five oxcarts.”xliv Glory saw the most overall action during the Korean War, totalling 9,500 operational sorties.xlv All told, Glory‘s aircraft dropped 3,818,000 lbs of ordinance, in addition to 24,328 rockets and over 1.4 million rounds of 20mm, resulting in the destruction of 70 bridges, 392 vehicles and 49 railways trucks for the loss of 20 crew.xlvi

Sea Fury9

VR943 of 804 Squadron launches from HMS Glory, June 1951.xlvii

Operations in Korea were strenuous. Briefed the night before, a typical day involved waking at 0400 for flights launching at 0500. An average of 50 sorties were flown each day, though 66 or 68 was not unheard of, each sortie lasting two to two and a half hours.xlviii Flights were over mountainous, difficult terrain against targets often heavily defended and camouflaged.xlix The Fury pilots adapted to these missions: for example, pilots of 804 (Glory) and 802 (Ocean) Squadrons developed 45º dive bombing tactics for bridge strikes.l Weather conditions ranged from extreme heat to intense cold. Snow storms grounded operations, while flying in summer heat resulted in cockpit temperatures of 140º.li During the snowy conditions prevailing in December 1950, Theseus, as part of the Sasebo rescue effort, launched sorties against Chinnampo despite the weather.lii

 Sea Fury10

Combat operations rarely stopped for… minor inconveniences such as snow.”liii

Skilfully handled, the Sea Fury was a match for the jet powered MiG-15, the latter faster by 200 mph, as demonstrated by an engagement at 0600 9 August 1952: “four Sea Furies [commanded by Lt Peter Carmichael, 802 (Ocean) Squadron] were flying north of Chinimpo, returning from a raid on railway lines and trains. They were attacked by eight MiG-15s at 3,500 feet… one MiG-15 was shot down and another two damaged.”liv

 Sea Fury11

Sea Fury WJ288 at 2009 Oshkosh Air Show.lv

The Korean experience demonstrated the flexibility and capability of naval aviation in the era of limited war.lvi The skilled pilots of the FAA rose to the challenge and their combat record attests to their esprit de corps as much as the technical qualities of the Seafire, Sea Fury and Firefly aircraft they flew. All told the FAA flew 23,000 sorties between 1950-3.lvii The FAA dropped 15,000 bombs, fired 57,600 rockets and 3.3 million rounds of 20mm. RAN pilots flew 2,366 sorties, dropped 802 bombs and fired 6,359 rockets and 269,000 rounds of 20mm.lviii It should also be kept in mind that this impressive war-time record was amassed by aircraft believed to be obsolete (the Sea Fury was replaced by the Attacker and then Sea Hawk jet fighters after the Korean War), and during a period of significant cost-cutting at the Admiralty.lix After the Second World War it was expected that only 10% of the FAA would be dedicated to strike aircraft.lx

iiKev Darling, Hawker Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury, Ramsbury, Marlborough: The Crowood Press Ltd, 2003, p 121

iiiDarling, Hawker Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury, p 122

ivDarling, Hawker Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury, p 123

vDarling, Hawker Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury, p 124

viReginald Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History, London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1981, p 124

viiKev Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2009, Appendix 2, p 330-1

viiiLongstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History, p 124

ixDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 161-2, 331

xDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 331; Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History, p 125

xiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 331

xiii David Hobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” in Air & Space Power Journal 18, no. 4 (Winter 2004), p 63

xivHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 63

xvHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 63

xviHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 63

xviiHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 64

xixDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 159, 161

xxDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162

xxiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162

xxiiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162

xxivDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162

xxvDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 163

xxviDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 164

xxviiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 165-7

xxviiiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 167

xxxDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 171

xxxiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 171

xxxiiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 168

xxxiiiHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 65

xxxivHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 65

xxxvHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 66

xxxviHugh Popham, Into Wind: a History of British Naval Flying, London: Hamilton, 1969, p 227

xxxviiPopham, Into Wind, p 226-7

xxxviii Ian Speller, “Limited War and Crisis Management: Naval Aviation in Action from the Korean War to the Falklands Conflict” in British Naval Aviation: The First 100 Years, 151–76, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies Series. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2011, p 155

xlData compiled from ADM 1/2236/4, National Archives

xliHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 65

xlii Speller, “Limited War and Crisis Management” p 155

xliii Popham, Into Wind, p 225

xlivHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” Table 1. Examples of sorties flown from HMS Glory, p 67

xlvHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 67

xlviHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 67

xlviiiDavid Wragg, A Century of British Naval Aviation, 1909-2009, Pen and Sword, 2009, p 156; Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162, Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 162

xlixDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 161

lPopham, Into Wind, p 227

liWragg, A Century of British Naval Aviation, p 155

liiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 170

liiiDarling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War, p 196

livWragg, A Century of British Naval Aviation, p 156

lvi Tim Benbow, “The Post-1945 Struggle for Naval Aviation,” in Dreadnought to Daring, edited by Peter Hore, 128–142, Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing, 2012, p 134

lvii Popham, Into Wind, p 228

lviiiHobbs, “British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War” p 71

lix Tim Benbow, “British Naval Aviation and the ‘Radical Review’, 1953-55” in British Naval Aviation: The First 100 Years, edited by Tim Benbow, 125–150, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies Series. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2011, p 127 fn

lx Benbow, “British Naval Aviation and the ‘Radical Review’, 1953-55” p 127