Reflections on the 2017 McMullen Naval History Symposium

HD7

This year’s biennial McMullen Naval History Symposium, hosted by the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, was a total success. This world-class conference featured a plethora of fascinating panels on subjects ranging from contemporary Canadian naval policy to Julius Caesar’s appreciation of naval power. As always, with a conference of this scale involving hundreds of historians and participants, any one person is only able to see a fraction of the total panels, so individual experience does matter. The conference was not generally digitized, thus, reflections from the participants provide the only method for intersubjectively preserving the experience itself, and there have already been (David Morgan-Owen) several (Trent Hone) contributions (Matthew Eng) in that regard.

The conference was organized by the vigilant Commander Benjamin “BJ” Armstrong, one of the “New Young Turks” relentlessly in pursuit of greater historical appreciation amongst the cadets and midshipmen of the growing United States Navy, not to mention a senior editor with the all-star blog, War on the Rocks. Commander Armstrong also edited the “21st Century” Mahan and Sims volumes for the US Naval Institute Press. The major themes at this years conference were the First World War (naturally enough considering the centenary), global and imperial history, seapower in the Age of Sail, the Asian and the Pacific theatres, the Second World War, naval education, and the evolution of naval technology in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Day One: September 14, 2017

howlett

From left to right: Panel Chair John Beeler, Louis Halewood, Alex Howlett, and David Kohnen (photo credit, Tim Choi)

I was a presenter on one of the first panels, along with Louis Halewood and David Kohnen. My paper on the Royal Naval Air Service and the development of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) 1917-1918, examined the impact of changing administration during wartime, and the organizational learning that took place in an unprecedented and high-technology environment. Louis Halewood described his research on the development of the Anglo-American theory of geostrategy, raising the prospect of the pre-1914 “Imperial Superstate” concept, notably diagnosed by historians such as Carroll Quigley, and Ramsay Muir. Louis Halewood introduced the influential work of luminaries such as Hartford Mackinder, Alfred Thayer Mahan, Julian Corbett, Spencer Wilkinson, and Lord Milner, theorists of naval and military power, strategy and imperial defence, who would all reappear with regularity in the politically charged panels and discussions to follow. Ultimately, the unity of the Wilsonian Anglo-American alliance broke down in the interwar period, in no small measure due to the challenge to British naval supremacy from the United States, in the process destroying the Anglo-Japanese alliance, with profound implications for Britain’s role in the Second World War.

David Kohnen discussed his research on the Knox-Pye-King report, a significant paper published in the United States Naval Institute Proceedings in 1920, bringing to the US Navy (USN) the strategic focus which had been raised in the British school, in particular, by the pre-war historians John Laughton, Julian Corbett, and Captain Herbert Richmond. Captains Ernie King, Dudley Knox and William Pye had been influenced by the irresistible force of Admiral William Sims, one of the significant contributors to the argument in favour of introducing trans-Atlantic convoys, a deciding factor in the victory over the U-boats in 1917-1918. David Kohnen argued that the modern USN had a worrying predilection for defaulting to technological dogma, with the result of the Navy utilizing the acronym saturated language of the Defense Department to stress uncritical “warfighting” instead of historical engagement and peacekeeping as the basis for doctrine.

crop03

Right to left: Panel chair Caitlin Gale, presenters Anna Brinkman, David Morgan-Owen, Paul Ramsey, and commentator Andrew Lambert (photo credit, Tim Choi)

With turn of the century grand strategy on my mind, I moved to the panel specifically examining British foreign policy, with the first paper given by Anna Brinkman (of Imperial Entanglements fame), on Britain’s strategy for managing Spain during the Seven Years War, a complex subject that relied on the interaction between significant stakeholders, Britain and Spain’s differing conceptions of the law of the sea, and the emerging balance of power in Europe. David Morgan-Owen, the brains behind the Defence-in-Depth blog, next brought the discussion into the 19th and 20th centuries by examining Britain’s evolving European and global situation, a subject that hinges on the the sticky topic of imperial and homeland defence, explored further in David’s new book. The expansion of the Committee for Imperial Defence by Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in 1904 was a watershed moment, ultimately leading to the development of conflicting army and naval strategies during the government of Herbert Asquith. Lastly, Paul Ramsey examined Spenser Wilkinson’s debate with historian Julian Corbett about the proper relation of Britain’s foreign and military policy to national strategy, a historically and politically charged sparring played out in the popular press. Professor Andrew Lambert, who was the panel commentator, observed the intricate connections between the papers, with Corbett, a scholar of the Seven Years War and Russo-Japanese War, visualizing Britain’s naval role as a component of an integrated system that only made sense once the land dynamic, with a debt to Clausewitz and Jomini, was integrated.

richHD3

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson announces the winners of the CNO’s inaugural Naval History Essay Contest (photo credit, Tim Choi)

With this auspicious start, the conference was on a sound footing. I enjoyed lunch in the beautiful Bo Coppedge Room, at the Alumni Hall, where I had an enjoyable conversation with a young officer and naval scholar on the fascinating subjects of Athens versus Sparta, US Marine Corps culture, and the recent Graham Allison book, The Thucydides Trap, concerning the possibility of American conflict with China in the 21st century. I was impressed with the student’s insight, candor, and breadth of knowledge, all of which I found refreshing (as was the key-lime cheesecake). Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson then presented the awards to the winners of the inaugural Naval History Essay Contest, which promised to raise the bar for scholarly research amongst historians and practitioners alike.

After lunch we headed to the final panel for the first day, again focused on British naval policy in the 19th century. By this point the conference was beginning to resemble a choose your own type of adventure. This was both an advantage and disadvantage of the conference’s scale and international reach. Breaking out of my own area of interest was certainly possible, with simultaneous panels taking place on American, South American, and Second World War naval history, all of which would have been fascinating to attend, if not especially related to my research focus. The conference organizers did the attendees a service by arranging the panels in such a manner that overlap was minimal and it was a fairly straightforward process to figure out which panel was the best choice for my own preferences.

This panel was chaired by John Mitcham, and the first paper was presented by John Beeler, the editor of the Navy Record Society’s Milne papers, on the subject of the Liberal party’s naval policy during the late 19th century. Beeler, who literally wrote the book on the subject, argued that the questionable choices of the Liberal party in terms of naval policy were an indication of a lack of clear strategic thinking, compared to Salisbury’s vision. The nuances of the political situation was emphasized by Peter Keeling, who followed this thread by specifically expanding on the Liberal party’s 1889 Naval Defence Act with original research that examined who voted for and against the Act, and why. Presenting the last paper of the day, Rebecca Matzke, in a fascinating paper reminiscent of the work of Michael Neiberg, discussed the efforts of British propagandists to influence American public perception of the Royal Navy’s war effort, in particular, as it related to the Royal Navy’s blockade and Germany’s counter-blockade (the unrestricted U-boat campaign). Taken together, this panel explored the interrelation of optics, how public support is galvanized by policymakers and NGOs, and the realities of budgetary and geostrategic constraints, firmly recognizing that military policy is never formed in a vacuum, and more often than not, is the result of a complex patchwork of influence.

crop07.jpg

James Goldrick delivers the 2017 McMullen Sea Power address in Mahan Hall, (photo credit, Tim Choi)

Thus we adjourned for day one. The next event was the McMullen Sea Power address to be held later that evening in the appropriately named Mahan Hall. Taking advantage of the warm evening air while moving between buildings, I stopped the always approachable James Goldrick for a brief discussion that touched on wide-ranging concepts such as Britain’s anti-submarine defence in the First World War, Germany’s strategic bombing campaigns in two world wars, and the origins of aircraft carrier strike doctrine. I was impressed as always by Professor Goldrick’s erudition. In this spirit of historical reflection, the conference participants made their way over to the fantastic US Naval Academy Museum. After touring amongst the excellent warship models and artifact displays, discussing defence policy with friends, I was stunned into a moment of clarity by news which spread like fire between the attendees that North Korea had launched yet another long-range missile, dramatically bringing home the importance of the subjects we had discussed, in otherwise academic detachment, throughout the day.

Not much more than an hour later I was sitting on the balcony of Mahan Hall watching Rear-Admiral (retired) Goldrick, Royal Australian Navy, deliver the formal 2017 Sea Power address. Professor Goldrick delivered his keynote directly to the young midshipmen sitting across from me on both wings of the balcony, and strove to reconcile the need for thorough professionalism within military education, transcending technological determinism, while also avoiding the other end of the spectrum, ivory tower detachment, a synthesis rare enough amongst long-time scholars yet also essential to the future of service culture: the next generation of young scholar-officers.

Day Two: September 15, 2017

crop05.jpg

From left to right: Trent Hone, Wes Hammond, and John Miller, USN.

With three excellent panels on Anglo-American and imperial naval history behind me, I decided to start off day two on a slightly different tact. There would be four panels to see, and I felt it was time to broaden the discussion by revisiting some areas of interest from my previous academic work. Easing into things I visited the panel highlighting some of the winners of the CNO’s essay contest, starting with Trent Hone’s analysis of operational learning by the USN at Guadalcanal in 1942. Hone argued that the Navy, with a strong foundation in historical education and doctrine, derived from the inter-war period and First World War, was well situated to adapt to operational disasters such as the Battle of Savo Island, enabling the Navy to reverse-course and ultimately out think the Imperial Japanese Navy. Lieutenant John Miller then read his case-study analysis of training failure, notably looking at the USS Stark, USS Panay, and USS Chesapeake incidents, concluding that readiness can only be achieved by a thorough understanding of not only ship and crew capability, but also, significantly, environmental awareness, the multifaceted elements of which can only be mastered through carefully cultivated experience and preparation, frequently missing in a high-tempo, rapid deployment situation. Wes Hammond then expanded on this subject by observing the importance of mobile basing, stressing the element of fleet logistics, repair and salvage, upon which all other elements are reliant. An important theme uniting these papers, explored in the panel discussion, was the recognition that contemporary naval affairs are defined by questions with historical antecedents. The notion of having, “been here before” was startling, and a clear reminder of the importance of historical investigation prior to framing naval policy.

crop08

From left to right: Dr. Nicholas Lambert, Alan Anderson, James Smith and G. H. Bennet

The fifth panel was chaired by the Naval Academy’s own Dr. Nicholas Lambert and featured papers by G. H. Bennet, Alan Anderson and James Smith. This panel took a sweeping look at the Admiralty as a political and educational organization in the 20th century. Plymouth University’s Bennet presented on the unique subject of ship and naval station libraries, a critical component in naval education that at first glance might appear parochial, yet, like many of the papers presented, once explored in detail provided rich insight. Bennet’s research explored the organic knowledge networks that developed aboard ships as crew and officers traded and circulated books, while providing a warning evidenced by the decline of these networks during the transformation of the Royal Navy as budgets tightened in the 20th century. Alan Anderson followed up by examining the seemingly bizarre decision of the Admiralty to promulgate the Declaration of London in 1909, and the implications this would have for Britain’s blockade strategy in 1914. Anderson, who has been critical of Nicholas Lambert’s work on British blockade theory, argued that in fact the Admiralty gained significant concessions from the Declaration, notably including affirmations on the illegality of shipping “absolute contraband” in times of war, while simultaneously shoring up neutral shipping rights, essential components of the Royal Navy’s historical mission as safeguard of the seas. James Smith (of the Seapower Thinker blog) built upon these papers with his criticism of the introduction of the Ministry of Defence by the Earl Mountbatten, who was Chief of the Defence staff for six years, starting in July 1959. Smith argued that Mountbatten’s personal ambitions led him to undermine Britain’s traditional maritime focus, relegating the senior service to equality with the RAF and Army, thus stripping the Navy of its institutional power, which had been carefully built up over hundreds of years.

Scan10001

The Battle of Virginia Capes, 1781

Controversy continued to abound in the two finals panels, both of which I attended out of interest. The first was focused on the Battle of Virginia Capes, 5 September 1781, and second on Japanese naval policy in the 20th century. This was a trip back in time for me, as I had previously written my Masters thesis on the culminating naval battle of the American Revolution, as well as my undergraduate thesis on the only decisive naval battle of the ironclad age, the Battle of Tsushima, 27 May 1905. The first of these panels was known colloquially as the Naval War College panel, featuring papers drawn entirely from that fine institution. Chaired by the College’s John Hattendorf, James Holmes presented the first paper, an insightful strategic analysis of Britain’s naval policy during the Revolutionary War. Holmes argued that Admiralty decision-making ultimately led to the abandonment of the American colonies in favour of protecting the more profitable imperial territories in the Caribbean and India, and seen from the perspective of grand strategy, was reflective of the concept of “antifragility” which helped to explain the Admiralty’s thinking. Holmes provided a broad framework that was then detailed by Jim McIntyre’s paper, examining the egodocuments of Hessian mercenary Johann Ewald, who witnessed the siege of Yorktown. The presentation of Stanley Carpenter flowed naturally from this point, providing a thorough analysis of the Royal Navy’s tactics at the Battle of the Capes itself, with particular attention to the Graves-Hood controversy that emerged. I was pleased to see, eight years after completing my thesis on the subject, Lord Hood receiving the criticism he rightly deserves for failing to bring battle decisively against the Comte de Grasse’s fleet when ordered so by Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves. The discussion after this panel was particularly insightful, with John Hattendorf moderating a lively debate about the vagaries of timing, strategic movements, and the many “mistakes” made, for example, by Lord Cornwallis, who should have known better than to allow his Carolina offensive to become locked up in a position from which the only possible escape was by sea.

allesio.jpg

Dr. Alessio Patalano presenting on Japan’s Cold War submarine policy, (photo credit: Tim Choi)

The final panel I attended was presented by Andrew Blackley, covering the lessons of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5, in particular the Battle of the Yalu, followed by presentations from Masashi Kurarni, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, looking at the Japanese contribution to the Mediterranean in 1917, and finally, by Alessio Patalano, who introduced the Self Defense Force’s submarine policy during the early Cold War. Andrew Blackley argued that Japan’s naval doctrine of rapid-fire close attack proved decisive in two major naval wars, indeed, demonstrating significant flexibility when faced with technical faults or warship losses. Flexibility was further indicated by Masashi Kurarni’s paper, showcasing Japan’s significant international alliance contribution to the anti-submarine war in 1917-1918, providing insight into the under-examined U-boat campaign in the Mediterranean. In keeping with these themes, Alessio Patalano presented the final paper, kindly aware of his duty to move quickly prior to the conference’s conclusion. Patalano observed that Japan’s strategy of core-competency paid dividends when the submarine began to take on a more significant role in Japan’s defence planning. The JMSDF was able to retain capability despite political, budgetary, and strategic transformation on an unprecedented scale.

The conference concluded back at the official symposium hotel where the 2017 Knox Awards Banquet was held, during which Dr. Edward J. Marolda, Commander Paul Stillwell and Dr. Jon T. Sumida were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards for their stellar and dedicated contributions to naval history.

In conclusion, I was struck by the inspiring collegiality of this professional, academic conference. It serves the historians well to leave their monk-like confines to engage with the free-flow of ideas that historical symposiums inculcate. Between the brilliant and inspiring papers it was a real pleasure to be included in debate that frequently involved world-class subject experts and naval practitioners. In short, this was a transformative experience I highly recommend to anyone considering attending the next Symposium in 2019.

mcmullen5

Advertisements

The Hawker Osprey

INTER WAR BRITISH AIRCRAFT

Osprey Mark IV conversion, photographed at the Aircraft Armament Experimental Establishment, Martlesham Heath. This advanced Osprey had been designed to fulfill Air Ministry Specification 26/35, naval fighter/reconnaissance.

The Hawker Osprey was the naval version of the Hawker Hart/Hind: a two seater light bomber designed by the Air Ministry for Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, to complement the Hawker Nimrod, the naval version of the Hawker Hornet/Fury single seat fighter. Considered the most important RAF acquisition between 1918 and 1936, the Hart and its numerous variants defined the interwar period, becoming the Air Ministry’s single most widely produced aircraft. The Hart and Hornet had been designed to take advantage of the improvements in engine technology that had occurred ten years after the First World War, notably, the newly designed Rolls-Royce Kestrel V-12 inline of 1925.

The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the Royal Air Force had been formed in April 1924, effectively recreating the carrier wing of the Royal Naval Air Service, as it had existed at the time of its dissolution, six years prior, in April 1918. Under the new compromise, the Admiralty would control the FAA operationally, with the Navy and Royal Marines providing the majority of pilots, as well as all observers, gunners and wireless operators, and the Admiralty delivering its aircraft requirements to the Air Ministry.[i] In October 1924, the FAA was composed of 18 Flights, totaling 128 aircraft: Blackburn Blackburns (torpedo bomber), Avro Bisons (bomber/spotter) and Fairey Flycatchers (fighter), in addition to seaplanes.[ii] Although the wartime giant Sopwith corporation had gone under in the 1920s, the legacy of the 1 ½ Strutter ultimately lived on in the form of the Osprey.

bell-davies

Wing Commander Richard Bell Davies takes off from HMS Argus in his Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter in October 1918. The Hawker Osprey filled the same role, functioning as a general purpose, two seat, carrier scout-bomber.

flycatcher

The single seat Fairey Flycatcher fighter, seen here fitted with floats at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe.

bison.jpeg

The Avro Bison, a four man gunfire spotter and bomber, replaced by the Osprey in the 1930s.

Hawker_Demon_-_Flickr_-_p_a_h_(2).jpeg

Restored Hawker Demon today.

The Hart was the fighter-bomber variant of the two seater Demon, itself a modified Hornet/Fury/Nimrod, which, for the Hart and Osprey, effectively meant exchanging the second Vickers gun in the fighter, for the bombsight and gear of the light-bomber. Indeed, the Hart had been designed to fill the role of Single-Engined Day Bomber (SEDB), Specification 12/26, for which it competed against the Avro Antelope and Fairey Fox II in 1928.[iii] This was the year that the Fleet Air Arm was due to receive new aircraft, First Sea Lord David Beatty having delayed the upgrades from the 1926-27 Naval Estimate for reasons of economy.[iv] The Hawker line would go on, in 1933, to replace the Flycatcher fighter with the Hawker Nimrod, the naval version of the twin Vickers gunned Fury single-seater. The Hawker Horsley had also been adopted for the 1928 estimate as a torpedo bomber, a role likewise considered for Hawker Harrier as per Specification 23/25 in February 1927.[v]

ospreyprotoype.jpg

The Hawker Hart prototype, showing the Osprey variants- with folding wings (top right) and floats (bottom left). The Osprey had been designed to fulfill the RAF’s 21/34 Specification for a fleet spotter and reconnaissance aircraft.

production.jpg

Hawker Harts being manufactured at the Hawker facility, Kingston, (top) and by Vickers Ltd., by sub-contract.

rolls-royce-kestrel-xvi.jpeg

Late model Rolls-Royce Kestrel XVI, the 21-litre 1,295 cu V12 water-cooled inline was first developed as an Air Ministry project to replicate the single-block architecture of the  18-litre American D-12 Curtiss during 1925-6. Kestrel variants could generate between 500 (IB model) and 600 hp (V model), and as much as 750 horsepower in the supercharged Peregrine derivative. This was the direct predecessor of the legendary 27-litre 1,650 cu (1,100 hp) P.V.12 (Merlin), utilized in the Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire and North American Mustang.

hartlinescockpitgear2trigger

The Hart/Osprey was equipped with a Mk. III Lewis gun and a single .303 Mk. II Vickers gun with C. C. synchronizing gear, which allowed the machine gun to be fired directly through the aircraft propeller. From The Armament of British Aircraft 1909 – 1939, by H. F. King, p. 235.

hart mg.jpg

Firing the Hart’s Vickers gun.

ring

The Hawker style Scarff ring for the observer’s Lewis gun.

inflation.jpg

Part of the naval adaptations, other than folding wings and floats in the seaplane conversion, was the added Kiddle-Lux floatation bags attached to the upper plane wings.

hart.jpg

Line drawing of Hawker Hart by James Goulding, from Francis Mason’s Profile Publications volume 57.

4488_2.jpeg

Two seater Hawker Demon with Osprey seaplane. The Demon was a two seat fighter variant of the Hart/Fury designed for the RAF. Note the seemingly interchangeable design.

Hawker_Demon_ExCC.jpeg

Squadron of Demon biplanes.

The Ospreys were first introduced to Flights No. 404 and 409 in November 1932, and No. 407 (seaplane) Flight had its Fairey IIIFs replaced by Ospreys for work with the cruisers of the Home Fleet. Ospreys also served in Flights 403, 406, 407, 443, 444, and 447. The Ospreys then joined Squadrons 800, 801, 802 and 803 when the FAA squadrons were re-formed in 1933.[x] Eventually the Squadrons were systematized, so that fighters (Nimrods) filled the 800s, FSR (Ospreys) the 810s and TSR (Horsleys) the 820s, each aircraft squadron colour-coded to the ship it was aboard: red for Courageous, yellow for Glorious, green for Eagle and black for Hermes.[xi] At the beginning of 1936 there were three Ospreys aboard Courageous, three aboard Furious, six on Eagle, three on Glorious, while there were another 34 seaplanes and other aircraft aboard 29 Royal Navy warships (144 aircraft in the entire FAA).[xii] Late generation Ospreys were still aboard HMS Ark Royal in 1939, when they were replaced by Blackburn Skua fighter/dive-bombers.

IMG_20170212_215307647.jpg

Hawker Ospreys from No. 800 Squadron aboard HMS Ark Royal shortly before September 1939, from British Naval Aviation by Ray Sturtivant, p. 27

folding.jpeg

Osprey showing folding wings.

In sum, 132 Ospreys served with the Fleet Air Arm, some ending their careers as seaplanes, having worked aboard the cruisers of the Royal Navy, others as trainer aircraft during the Second World War.

IMG_20170212_200059985.jpg

Ospreys conducting a night sortie aboard HMS Courageous in 1935, from Hugh Popham, Into Wind, p. 112

Captain Richard Bell Davies, who returned to the Royal Navy after the formation of the RAF, was critical of the Osprey only in terms of its suitability as a seaplane: he believed a slower, more robust and specialized, aircraft was required.[xiii] Indeed, it was during the 1930s, as wartime learning began to be forgotten, and radical technological developments accelerated, that the Admiralty attempted to simplify its requirements, down to essentially two airplanes: Torpedo, Spotter, Reconnaissance (TSR), and fighter/dive-bomber, plus seaplanes, thus losing the pure naval fighter role.[xiv] Whereas technical homogeneity during the disarmament period of the decade following 1918, and Air Ministry control of production, meant that invariably the FAA was going to have to make due with imperfect aircraft, the excellence of the Hawker design meant relative success in terms of roles: single seat fighter (Fairey Flycatcher, then Hawker Nimrod), two seat bomber/spotter/reconnaissance + seaplane (Hawker Osprey), torpedo bomber (Horsley): in effect, Hawker aircraft had become the entire RAF, and indeed most of the FAA, so far as single engine aircraft was concerned. In this regard Sydney Camm had come close to achieving the dream of efficiency sought by defence planners ever since, that is, the production of a single aircraft that, with slight modification, could fulfill every role.

enterprise.jpeg

Hawker Osprey seaplane aboard cruiser HMS Enterprise off Palestine in 1936.

img_20170213_070834052

Osprey Mk3 launching from HMS Sussex.

Ultimately, the Hart and Osprey, designed ten years after the First World War, were representative of the last decade of inter-service cooperation before the defence upheavals of the 1930s. Although in 1928 the Fleet Air Arm was still controlled by the RAF, responsibly was shared with the Royal Navy through the arrangement that became known as dual control.[xv] This system was maintained, although its existence in terms of utility for the Navy was doomed in so far as the FAA officers, holding RAF rank, were unlikely to advance beyond flight lieutenants: this was at least partly why the Squadrons were formed in 1933, to provide billets for 16 Squadron rank officers.[xvi] The history of the FAA has perhaps never been more controversial than it was during the third decade of the 20th century. Despite the administrative conflict, the second decade had left the FAA in good condition, concluding with the development of the Hawker Hart and Osprey, thus beginning the 1930s on a hopeful note.

Osprey Mark 1.png

Hawker Osprey Mark I flying above HMS Eagle,

Ospreys had been hunted to extinction in Britain by 1916, however, Scandinavian Ospreys recolonized Scotland starting in 1954. A joint English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage project successfully reintroduced the Osprey to the England Midlands, at the beginning of the 21st century, starting at Rutland was reintroduced to England in 2001.

30

4n7a6941-blog3

Rutland Osprey #30 (female), seen here in 2015; ZeroF the descendant of Osprey #09 (male), below.

img_4157-site-n-juv-in-manton-bay-16-8-12

[i] Bill Finnis, The History of the Fleet Air Arm: From Kites to Carriers (Longden Road, Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2000)., p. 26

[ii] Reginald Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History (London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1981)., p. 93

[iii] H. F. King, Armament of British Aircraft, 1909-1939 (London: Putnam & Company Limited, 1971)., p. 235

[iv] Stephen Roskill, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty: The Last Naval Hero (New York: Antheneum, 1981)., p. 355

[v] King, Armament of British Aircraft, 1909-1939., p. 229, 232

[vi] Francis Mason, The Hawker Hart, Profile Publications 57 (London: Profile Publications Ltd., n.d.)., p. 3

[vii] Ibid., p. 4

[viii] Kev Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War: The History of British Naval Aviation (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Aviation, 2009)., p. 329 – 30; King, Armament of British Aircraft, 1909-1939., p. 237

[ix] Darling, Fleet Air Arm Carrier War: The History of British Naval Aviation., p. 334

[x] Longstaff, The Fleet Air Arm: A Pictorial History., p. 100

[xi] Ibid., p. 101

[xii] Ibid., p. 102

[xiii] Richard Bell Davies, Sailor in the Air: The Memoirs of the World’s First Carrier Pilot (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Seaforth Publishing, 2008)., p. 224

[xiv] Geoffrey Till, Air Power and the Royal Navy, 1914-1945, A Historical Survey (London: Jane’s Publishing Company, 1979)., p. 103; Hugh Popham, Into Wind (Pitman Press, Bath: Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1969)., p. 110

[xv] Bryan Ranft, ed., The Beatty Papers: Volume II, 1916-1927, vol. 2, 2 vols., Navy Records Society 132 (Brookfield, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1993)., p. 228

[xvi] Eric Grove, The Royal Navy since 1815 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)., p. 174

 

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

NATO Secretary General at the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIL Defense Ministerial

Logo for the Global Counter ISIL Defence Ministerial, held in Washington D.C., 20 July 2016.[i]

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

CENTCOM’s CJTF-OIR mission is now entering the second year since its inception in August 2014. It has been almost six months since the United States and its coalition partners began transitioning to the expanded phase of the CJTF-OIR mission. April to October 2016 witnessed a general expansion of the Global Coalition’s air campaign, complemented by relentless diplomatic pressure to bolster the Coalition’s political support and capabilities. Turkish ground forces intervened in August to prevent the Kurdish occupation of Manbij, and in September Russia accelerated its support for the Syrian regime forces battling in Aleppo. The April – October period ended with the Coalition preparing for its final series of operations against Raqqa and Mosul.

Diplomacy: Strengthening the Commitment, Two Years of Progress

obama1 

US President Barack Obama speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin on 18 April 2016. Control between the Russian and Coalition partners remained both complicated and dangerous, and was not always conducted with mutual satisfaction.

NATO Secretary General visits the Aegean Sea

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg flies by helicopter to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 Flagship, Bonn, 21 April 2016.[ii] NATO’s role in the Coalition remained hugely important, especially in the naval, air and training roles, although the United States continued to shoulder the majority of airstrikes and ground personnel.

Command reshuffling continued throughout the April – October period. On 21 April, Major General Peter E. Gersten, the deputy commander, operations and intelligence for the CJTF-OIR and 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, was moved to the Secretary of Air Force’s office at the Pentagon as deputy assistant for programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller,[iii] continuing a trend seen throughout 2016 of Iraq and Afghanistan senior commanders moving between and into Washington posts.

vpotus_baghdad

Vice President Joseph Biden boards a C-17 aircraft after concluding his visit to Baghdad on April 28.[iv] Biden’s surprise visit was meant to impress the importance of the Coalition’s long-term Mosul strategy; the recapture of ISIL’s Iraq capital is one of President Obama’s year end goals.

pms

In Hannover, US President Barack Obama met with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron; the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, President of France, Francois Hollande and Matto Renzi, the Prime Minister of Italy. 25 April 2016. Europe’s commitment to the counter-ISIL mission remained steadfast despite a number of ISIS terrorist attacks on European soil.

On April 28, Lt. General Thomas Waldhauser, formerly the director joint forces development at the Pentagon (J-7, Joint Staff HQ, USMC)[v], was promoted full general and appointed the commander, US Forces, AFRICOM.[vi] The Africa Command played an important role in the expanded counter-ISIL mission: several high profile strikes were carried out in Libya.

On 2 May, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that Norway had agreed to provide special forces to Jordan to assist in the training of Syrian Sunni fighters. The coalition continued to train “vetted” Syrian fighters. Norway also agreed to send a special medical team directly to the combat areas of northern Iraq.[vii] Carter personally thanked Norway’s Defence Minister, Ine Eriksen Soreide for her assistance in securing Norway’s commitment to the ongoing mission. Carter planned to meet with Defence Minister Soreide in Stuttgart for a CJTF ministers meeting happening later that week.

On 4 May Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Q. Brown Jr., the deputy commander USAF Central Command, Southwest Asia, became deputy commander, US Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base.[viii] That same day, Ash Carter met with the Danish Defense Minister, Peter Christensen, at the Stuttgart anti-ISIL defence ministerial. Christensen pledged to commit Danish forces to the full spectrum of military operations in Iraq and Syria.[ix]

On 11 May, Elissa Slotkin, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, and Joint Staff Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, Lt. General Kenneth F. McKenzie, held a video-conference with their Russian MOD counterparts to recommit to the US-Russia memorandum of understanding on flight restrictions for Syria., the first of many teleconferences for the period.[x] The Russia-US memorandum would become especially significant towards the end of September with the collapse of the ceasefire agreement, and the renewed Russian air campaign against Aleppo.

On 13 May, US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter announced that Belgium would commit air assets (F-16s) to Syria as part of the counter-ISIL mission. Carter commended Prime Minister Charles Michel and Defence Minister Steven Vadeput for their support.[xi]

Supreme Allied Commander.jpg

Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti (US Army), and General John W. Nicholson, commander Operation Resolute Support (Afghanistan), at the Meetings of the Chiefs of Defence, in Brussels, 18 May. The interplay between Afghanistan, NATO, and the CJTF-OIR was maintained at the highest level, yet remained only one of the several security challenges facing the US and NATO. Other areas of concern were Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

Meetings of the Chiefs of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels - MC-CS Resolute Support Format

18 May 2016, General Joseph F. Dunford (USMC) meeting with Vice Admiral John N. Christenson, the US Military Representative to NATO, at the 175th session of the Meetings of the Chiefs of the Defence at NATO HQ, Brussels.[xii] Dunford, along with Secretary Carter, were instrumental in pushing for US troop increases to the CJTF.

On 18 May, Secretary Carter met with Qatar’s defence minister, Minister of State for Defence Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah, and they discussed mutual security, including the counter-ISIL missions.[xiii]

kerrystoltenberg.jpg

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg prior to the US-NATO bilateral meeting in Brussels on May 19.[xiv] Stoltenberg and Kerry conducted nearly round-the-clock global diplomacy to keep the Coalition on mission, while building bridges for ceasefire negotiations in Syria, but also keeping the broader strategic perspective in mind.

On 24 May, the US DOD announced that Brigadier Karen H. Gibson, deputy commanding general Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber, US Army Cyber Command, had been promoted to Director of Intelligence, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, based in Kuwait.[xv] That same day, Brigadier General G. Kaiser was made commander, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. These appointments reflected a long-standing trend of moving intelligence and special forces personnel to CJTF and Afghanistan. Cyber, intelligence, training and battle-space control only increased in significance as the air campaign and ISF training operations expanded during the summer.

G7obama.jpg

US President Obama photographed here taking notes before the G7 leaders working lunch in Shima City, Japan, 26 May 2016. Russia had been evicted from the G8 following the March 2014 invasion of Crimea. Along with Secretary Kerry, with only half a year left in office, President Obama maintained focus on the counter-ISIL mission and Afghanistan, the two wars that had not ended during his eight years as President.

airforcegrads.jpg

June 2, Graduates of the USAF Academy Colorado Springs celebrate. President Obama congratulates graduate in the background.[xvi]

On June 3, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, during his visit to Singapore, met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and the two discussed countering terrorism, including ISIL, as well as joint air operations in the Asia-Pacific. Carter thanked the Prime Minister for his aggressive stance on counter-ISIL and anti-piracy (Gulf of Aden) missions.[xvii] The coalition relied on smaller partners and regional actors to handle specific tasks, often outside the main theatre of operations.

stoltenbergholland.jpg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meeting with French President Francois Hollande on 3 June 2016.[xviii]

On 3 June Army Command Sgt. Major William F. Thetford, command senior enlisted leader for US Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, replaced Army Command Sgt. Major Christopher K. Greca as command senior enlisted advisor for CENTCOM, MacDill AFB.[xix]

On 8 June, US DOD Secretary Ash Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work held a meeting with Sweden’s Minister of Defense, Peter Hultqvist. Discussion topics included Russian aggression and expanding the counter-ISIL mission. Bob Work later met with the Defense Minister of Montenegro, Milica Pejanovic-Djuisic, thanking the minister for their commitment to Afghanistan.[xx] Also on June 8, Brigadier General Daniel R. Walrath, deputy commanding general (maneuver) 1st Armored Division; and commander Combined Joint Operations Center/Army Forces-Jordan, Operation Inherent Resolve, Jordan, was moved to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army, Washington DC.[xxi]

ISILsummereurope.gif

ISW European situation map, showing ISIL attacks between March 25 and July 15, 2016. Turkey’s greater involvement in the Coalition drew a number of ISIL backed attacks.

On 10 June, Brigadier General Aaron M. Prupas, the deputy director of intelligence, US Forces – Afghanistan, also assistant deputy of staff of intelligence to NATO HQ, Operation Resolute Support, was made the director (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance strategy, plans, policy, and force development) CENTCOM, Kabul, Afghanistan, under the Deputy Chief of Staff (ISR), USAF HQ at the Pentagon.[xxii] Brigadier General Aaron replaced Major General Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall who became the director (operations) and the military deputy at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Springfield, Virginia.

obama mattis.jpg

            President Obama at the Department of Finance to give a statement on the Orlando shootings (12 June 2016), following a National Security Council meeting on June 14, 2016. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, is standing in front of the camera. The Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew are to his left.[xxiii] .[xxiv]

carterfrance.jpg

14 June: NATO Defense Ministers meet in Brussels. US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter meets with Pedro Morenes Eluate, the Spanish Secretary of Defense , and Jeab-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defense for France.[xxv] Carter also met with Michael Fallon, Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence.[xxvi] Accelerating the ISIL campaign was discussed by all parties. Later, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with Fikri Isik, the Turkish Minister of Defense. Carter emphasized Turkey’s critical role in the Counter-ISIL Coalition. Carter also thanked the Minister for his support in the ongoing refugee crisis, and in his commitment to Afghan security.[xxvii] Carter also met with the Secretary of State for the Defence of France, Jean-Yves le Drian.[xxviii]

The next day, June 15, Carter met with General Stepan Poltorak, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, and confirmed the US and NATO commitment to Ukrainian security, including US non-recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.[xxix] On 16 June, Secretary Carter met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman. Carter and bin Salman discussed Saudi Arabia’s important role in the counter-ISIL mission, as well as the Saudi operations to counter Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly in Yemen.[xxx]

afghanjune30.gif

Afghanistan situation map for June 30, 2016.[xxxi] ISW map. The long war entered its 15th year in October 2016.

On 17 June, the US Department of Defense released its Afghanistan situation report, “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” covering the period December 2015 to May 2016.[xxxii] The report discussed the successes of the counter-ISIL mission in Afghanistan (Islamic State – Khorasan), as well as the ongoing NATO Operation Resolute Support and US led Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. The report, significantly, noted that insurgent violence has led to increased levels of civilian and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties. The report also highlighted ongoing capability gaps in the ANDSF (although noting that Afghanistan’s aerial capability had increased three times from its 2015 level thanks to the delivering of ground attack aircraft and helicopters), and observed that while the NATO commitment continues to hover around the 7,000 soldier level, the US was significantly short of its 9,800 troop level establishment during the report period. US troop level is expected to fall to 5,500 by January 2017.

NATORS.gif

            A video-conference was held between Russian and US DOD personnel on 18 June regarding Russian airstrikes carried out on June 16 that targeted At-Tanf in Syria, where US backed Syrian opposition and counter-ISIL forces were stationed.[xxxiii] At the Pentagon, on 20 June, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Minister of Defense. They discussed regional security concerns, as well as Lieberman’s planned visit to Fort Worth, Texas, where he would see the F-35 JSF production line (Israel will be the first foreign country to receive F-35s).[xxxiv] That same day, Carter issued a statement applauding Polish Minister of National Defense Macierewicz’s decision to deploy 60 special operations forces to Iraq, as well as commit four F-16s to Kuwait for reconnaissance missions.[xxxv] Likewise, Carter issued another statement, also 20 June, thanking Gerry Brownlee, the Minister of Defense of New Zealand, for his commitment to the training mission in Iraq through November 2018.[xxxvi]

            The next day, 21 June, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work met with the Dutch Minister of Defense Secretary-General Wim Geerts at the Pentagon, where the two discussed Europe and the counter-ISIL campaign.[xxxvii] On 24 June Ash Carter spoke by telephone with UK State Secretary for Defense Michael Fallon: they discussed the ongoing counter-ISIL mission and US-UK commitment to NATO.[xxxviii]

kerrystoltenberg2.jpg

US Secretary of State meets with NATO Secretary General for bilateral talks on 27 June 2016, in Brussels.[xxxix] The same day US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter issued a statement congratulating Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi for the progress made securing Fallujah from ISIL control.[xl]

lunch.jpg

June 29, 2016: North American leaders summit working lunch at the National Gallery in Ottawa, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto. US Secretary of State John Kerry sits to Obama’s right and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice is to his left.[xli] Canada’s role in the Global Coalition remains complex, with the Liberal government committing 168 special operations forces to Iraq, while continuing to fly reconnaissance and refueling missions.

On June 28 there was a suicide bombing attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.[xlii] Secretary Carter called Turkish Minister of Defense Fikri Isik to express his condolences.[xliii]

Obamacarterdunford.jpg

US President Obama discusses a statement on Afghanistan with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 6, 2016.[xliv]

 UAEnato1.jpg

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow meets with the Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Mohamed Ahmed Albowardi Alfalacy, of the United Arab Emirates, 6 July 2016[xlv] The UAE plays a crucial role in the coalition, providing basing and support for US airstrikes, while also committing to the all important training mission.

stoltenberghawk.jpg

8 July 2016, the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Secretary General Stoltenberg visits with NATO Allied Ground Surveillance personnel and their Global Hawk UAV.[xlvi]

obamastoltenberg.jpg

Jens Stoltenberg meets with US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Warsaw on 8 July 2016.[xlvii] Operation Resolute Support was the major subject of discussion, with commitments made to sustain the operation through the conclusion of 2016, with financial commitments made to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces through the 2020 timeframe. It was hoped Afghanistan would be capable of financial responsibility for its security forces by the end of 2024 (the conclusion of the “Transformation Decade” as arranged at the 2012 NATO Chicago Summit).

afghanattacks.gif

afghanattacks2.gif

Enemy attacks in Afghanistan, January 2014 to May 2016. The figures indicate an overall decline in IED and mine fatalities, but an increase in direct actions.

NATOheads.jpg

8 July 2016, Family Portrait of NATO heads of state, Warsaw Summit.[xlviii] Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom smiles, despite having lost the Brexit Referendum in June. He was to subsequently to resign on July 13. A week after this picture was taken, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, standing in front of Chancellor Merkel, would survive the coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

obamaafghanistan.jpg

9 July 2016, Warsaw: Barack Obama shakes hands with Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan. Ash Carter is on the left and Jens Stoltenberg on the right.[xlix] Secretary Carter later met with Turkey’s Defense Minister, Fikri Isik, expressing uniformity on the anti-ISIL mission, and looked forward to meeting again in Washington DC for the July 20-21 Counter-ISIL Defense Ministerial.[l] Carter then left for Baghdad, arriving July 11.

US Defense Secretary Carter met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi in Baghdad shortly after arriving on 11 July. At this meeting Carter highlighted the success achieved by capture the Qayyarah West airfield. Carter announced that the US intended to deploy another 560 troops to Iraq to build on momentum leading up to the planned assault on Mosul, an arrangement that had been made with CJTF-OIR commander Lt. General Sean MacFarland.[li] Mosul, the plan went, would be attacked from both north and south: in the north by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and in the south by Iraqi Security Forces. Manbij, the strategic hub along the Turkish border between Iraq and Syria, was now surrounded and under intensive aerial bombardment.

franceambassador.jpg

July 15, 2016, President Obama meets with Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to the US, following the ISIS terrorist attack in Nice. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to offer his condolences.[lii]

On 19 July US Secretary Carter called Turkey’s Fikri Isik to reiterate his support for the democratically elected government, following the 15 July 2016 coup attempt.[liii]

counterISILstoltenberg.jpg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIL Defence Ministerial, chaired by US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter, 20 July 2016, at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington D.C.[liv] Carter later spoke with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian. Carter expressed gratitude for the decision to deploy France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to support the CJTF.[lv] Carter also met with the Defense Ministers from Saudi Arabia and Australia, both involved in the training mission in Iraq.

french forces.jpg

French (and USN and German) naval forces operating against ISIL.

On 26 July the next video-conference between Russian MOD and US DOD personnel took place.[lvi] On 28 July Brigadier General Terrence J. McKenrick, the commanding general, Brigade Modernization Command, Army Capabilities Integration Center, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Bliss, Texas, was promoted to deputy commanding general, US Army Central/Third Army, Kuwait.[lvii]

Obamasingapore.jpg

August 2, 2016. President Obama greets Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore on the White House south lawn. The Prime Minister also met with Secretary Carter for a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

On 2 August Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Eric D. Neilsen, was moved from the Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to become the senior enlisted leader for NATO Special Operations Forces, Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium; highlighting the close integration between CTJF and NATO special operations.[lviii]

syriarussiaaugust.gif

Russian airstrikes in Syria, July 28 to August 20, 2016. Institute for the Study of War map.[lix]

September 7, 2016: Secretary Carter met with Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman for a bilateral meeting during the London UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial. They discussed regional security and ISIL.[lx] Carter then met with Fikri Isik, Turkey’s Minister of Defense, on September 8. Carter reaffirmed his commitment to Turkey’s security, and assured the minister of US support for anti-ISIL operations along the Turkish border.[lxi]

ISW attacksturkey.gif

ISW situation map for ISIL activity in Turkey the year of 2015-2016.[lxii]

On 16 September, the US President’s National Security Council met. It was noted that at this time in the campaign, 50% of Iraq territory once controlled by ISIL had been recaptured, and that ISIL in Syria was now effectively cut off from the outside world.[lxiii]

The next video-conference between US DOD and Russian MOD liaisons took place on September 14, with another conference held on 22 September following the Russian or Syrian regime airstrikes on a UN aid convoy, disrupting the weeklong ceasefire agreement before the end of September.[lxiv]

obamaUN.jpg

September 20: US President Barack Obama before delivering his final presidential address at the UN General Assembly.[lxv]

stoltenberg at the UN.jpg

            Stoltenberg attending the UN General Assembly session on 20 September 2016, during his visit to New York.[lxvi]

             On 22 September, Secretary Ash Carter met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Pentagon. They discussed US and Australian support for the counter-ISIL mission and the ongoing campaign in Afghanistan, as well as regional security concerns, the recent North Korean nuclear test, and naval developments in the Asia-Pacific.[lxvii]

fallonkurds

            Also on 22 September, the United Kingdom’s Michael Fallon met with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, who expressed gratitude for the UK’s commitment to the coalition training mission.

stoltenbergharvard.jpg

            NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attends a seminar at the Kennedy School, Harvard, during his visit to the United States, 23 September 2016. NATO and the Coalition took great lengths to explain the importance of the mission to often skeptical populations; the Combined Joint Task Force continued to maintain youtube and twitter pages filled with regular updates on airstrikes and other coalition movements.

carterdunford.jpg

Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford and Secretary Ash Carter state that the coalition has gained momentum in battling ISIL in Syria, September 24, 2016.[lxviii] On September 28, Carter announced that an additional 600 US soldiers were being committed to Iraq, in anticipation of the Mosul offensive.[lxix]

townsendarmy.jpg

19 September. CJTF-OIR commander Lt. General Townsend meets US Army Secretary Eric Fanning in Baghdad at the beginning of the Secretary’s tour of US forces in Iraq.

Operations in Transition: Escalation

            The summer of 2016 was a transitional period for the CJTF: while Ramadi had been recaptured at the end of 2015, and Hit was soon to follow (April 2016), with the Mosul – Raqqa corridor squeezed at Sinjar, although Fallujah was still under ISIL control. Much of the air campaign over the past five months was focused on the degrading of ISIL forces in preparation for the expected showdown over the ISIL capitals in Syria and Iraq.

MirageApril.jpg 

Two French Mirage 2000Ds refuel over Iraq, April 8, 2016.

In the target information section of the CJTF-OIR strike reports, it is not unusual to see one strike credited with destroying dozens of ISIL fuel trucks, or destroying a cluster of local targets, from tunnels, bridges, rocket vehicles, VIEDs, IEDs and explosives factories, many boats and river craft, medium and heavy machine gun positions, bunkers, communications, HQ, and training facilities, currency mints, oil derricks, pump jacks, well heads, technicals, tactical vehicles, bulldozers, rear-end loaders, recoilless rifles, artillery pieces, mortars, weapons caches, fighting entrenchments, ISIL camera positions, sniper positions, multistory buildings, entire House Borne IEDs (HBIEDs), and some particularly interesting targets such as battle tanks and at least one ISIL controlled drone. A typical example, representative of the dozens of strikes conducted during any given day, are six strikes executed near Qayyarah, on April 5, 2016, destroying an ISIL tactical unit, weapons storage facility, four mortar firing positions, a supply cache, a VBIED production facility, and 13 staging areas.

2015bombs.jpeg

Table showing the monthly weapon release figures for one year of the war, February 2015 – 2016. The low figures in the spring of 2015 coincide with the withdrawal of the B-1B bombers for modifications, and subsequent uptick with the arrival of B-52s.[lxx]

strikedataapril2.jpg

Table showing breakdown of CJTF-OIR strike mission targets for April 2016.[lxxi] Mosul was the most heavily attacked, receiving 137 strikes, nearly twice as many as Mar’a in Syrian, with 70 strikes. Fallujah, Hit and Qayyarah received more than 50 strikes each.

            A huge series of strikes were carried out against ISIL controlled refinery assets near Mosul on 14 and 15 April 2016.[lxxii]

april16a.gif

april16b.gif

16 April: airstrikes target a VBEID and ISIL troop barracks near Al Hawl.[lxxiii]

april18b

18aprila

18 April: coalition strikes destroy ISIL explosives and IED factories at Qayyarah[lxxiv]

april24a

april24b.gif

april24c.gif

Coalition strikes on April 24, targeting ISIL munitions factories in Fallujah and Sultan Abdallah, fighting positions around Manbij were also attacked.[lxxv] More ISIL infantry positions were engaged outside Fallujah on 25 April.[lxxvi]

april27aapril27b

Qayyarah was targeted on 27 April, as was Al Huwayjah.[lxxvii] An HQ facility at Washiyah, Syria, was also destroyed.

april28.gif

On 28 April an ISIL fueling station outside Mosul was destroyed.[lxxviii] Mar’a was also targeted.[lxxix]

april29aapril29bapril29c

An ISIL VBIED factory at Al Qam was destroyed on 29 April. Additional VBIEDs were targeted near Kirkuk.[lxxx]

On 4 May 2016, the US Defense Department announced that Special Warfare Operator 1st Class, Charles H. Keating, a US Navy SEAL, had been killed in combat at Tall Usquf Iraq, May 3.[lxxxi] On 8 May, the DoD announced that 1st Lt. David A. Bauders of Seattle Washington, 176th Engineer Company, had been killed while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, on 6 May at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq due to a non-combat related incident.[lxxxii]

may05.gif

Weapons facilities at Qayyarah were bombed on May 5.[lxxxiii]

            On 10 May US Special Operations Command carried out a hostage rescue raid in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, freeing Ali Haider Gilani, son of Pakistant’s former Prime Minister, had been held captive for three years by Al Qaeda.[lxxxiv]

may19.gif

19 May: Snipers in Ar Rutbah are targeted.[lxxxv]

may20amay20bmay20c

On 20 May, the ISIS Syrian capital at Ar Raqqah was hit, a huge weapons cache destroyed along with an oil derrick.[lxxxvi] A mortar position at Mar’a was targeted on May 21. Another weapons cache was destroyed on May 22, again near Mar’a.[lxxxvii] Also on 21 May, the US killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Mansour in an airstrike in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mansour had been the Taliban leader since July 2015. He was succeeded by Mullah Haybatullah Akhundzada.

may24

On 24 May a VBIED was destroyed at Fallujah.[lxxxviii] PGM circled.

may25amay25b

An ISIL HQ building in Mosul was destroyed on 25 May.[lxxxix]

On 23 May, the US DOD announced that Taliban leader Mullah Mansur had been killed in an airstrike carried out along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on 21 May.[xc] On 28 May, Gunner’s Mate Seaman Connor Alan McQuagge, a 19 yearold from Utah, died of a non-combat related injury while underway in the Red Sea, aboard USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.[xci]

On 27 May the US conducted an airstrike against Abdullahi Haji Da’ud, an al-Shabaab commander in south-central Somalia. Da’ud was responsible for coordinating militia operations between Somalia, Kenya and Uganda, and had been head of Amniyat, the al-Shabaab intelligence branch.[xcii]

may28amay28b

Another large ISIL VBIED was destroyed at Fallujah on 28 May.[xciii] PGM circled.

may30.gif

ISIL technical destroyed at Hit on 30 May.[xciv]

An Iraqi Shi'ite fighter fires artillery during clashes with Islamic State militants near Falluja

May 29, Iraq Shiite fighters fire artillery at ISIL controlled Fallujah.[xcv]

As of May 31 2016, 20,131 US military personnel had been wounded and 1,843 killed in Afghanistan since the start of the conflict in October 2001.

June2016.jpg

Strike data for June 2016. Manbij, along the strategic M4 route to Aleppo, received 32% of all strikes, over 276 of the 874 strikes conducted that month. Qayyarah accounted for 106 strikes, Mosul and Fallujah another 96 and 80 respectively.

june11

On 6 June an ISIL oil tanker facility at Mosul was bombed.[xcvi] On 11 June a fuel weighing station at Qayyarah was destroyed as part of the mission to disrupt ISIL oil supplies.[xcvii] Mosul was bombed again on 14 June.

june18june21

Another ISIL technical is destroyed near Mar’a, 18 June.[xcviii] An ISIL position is bombed, 21 June, near Mabij.[xcix]

june22ajune22b

ISIL technical destroyed near Manbij, 22 June.[c] PGM circled. That day the US DOD reported that Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew J. Clement, 38, had died on 21 June from non-combat injuries sustained while he was deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.[ci]

On 25 June the US conducted strikes against two ISIL commanders near Mosul, killing both: Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, ISIL’s deputy minister of war (and former al Qaeda operative), and Hatim Talib al-Hamundi, ISIL military commander, Mosul.[cii]

fallujahfree.jpg

On 26 June, Iraqi forces announced that Fallujah had been fully liberated, ISIS losses estimated at 2,500.[ciii] ISF Counter-Terrorism soldier drives through the streets of Fallujah.

june29convoy

An ISIL convoy destroyed by coalition airstrikes, June 29, 2016.[civ] An uparmoured dump truck was also destroyed at Abu Kamal the same day.[cv]

June29fleeing.gif

Fleeing ISIL vehicle about to be hit by airstrike (in red) outside Habbaniyah, Iraq, 29 June 2016.[cvi]

june30manbij.gif

A building complex controlled by fighters is demolished on 30 June 2016 near Manbij. Manbij was the most heavily bombed target for June and August.[cvii]

SyriaRussiaJune.gif

Russian airstrikes in Syria between 18 June and 28 June, 2016. ISW map.[cviii]

fightermanbij.gif

Syrian Democratic Forces fighter watches coalition airstrike near Manbij, July 2016.[cix]

Julyhelicopters.gif

Iraqi Army Aviation M-28 Havoc attack helicopters annihilate an ISIL convoy fleeing Fallujah, July 2016.[cx] The helicopter attacking here is circled.

July03vehicle.gif

3 July 2016: ISIL vehicle destroyed near Manbij.[cxi]

july05manbij.gif

ISIL controlled building are destroyed on 5 July 2016 near Manbij.[cxii]

July7VBIED.gif

ISIL VBIED moments before destruction by coalition airstrike, outside Bayji, 7 July 2016.[cxiii]

On 9 July, US Forces-Afghanistan killed Umar Khalifa in an airstrike. Khalifa was a leader of the Tariq Gidar Group of the Islamic Sate-Khorasan Province, and responsible for multiple high profile attacks in Pakistan.[cxiv]

JulyPGM.gif

11 July, ISIL artillery piece destroyed near Manbij. PGM circled.[cxv]

july13buildings.gif

13 July 2016: more buildings targeted in Manbij.

July11Manbij.gif

Buildings in Manbij explode as they are targeted by CJTF-OIR airstrikes, 11 July.[cxvi]

july16rubble.gif

Rubble in Manbij, 16 July 2016.

B52July.jpeg

16 July 2016, B-52 refuels from KC-10 Extender, Iraq.[cxvii]

The US DOD announced that 1st Lt. Anais A. Tobar, 25 years old, of Miami, Florida, had died on 18 July in Southwest Asia, in a non-combat related incident. 1st Lt. Tobar had been supporting Operation Inherent Resolve when she was killed.[cxviii]

july19manbijfire.gif

Fireball engulfs Manbij neighbourhood on 19 July 2016.[cxix]

july29

A huge cloud of smoke spirals up from an airstrike on Manbij, 24 July 2016.[cxx] Further strikes were carried on 26 July.

july25baghdadi

Al Baghdadi was the subject of airstrikes on 25 July.[cxxi]

On July 26 US forces conducted an airstrike against ISIL-K in Afghanistan, targeting Hafiz Sayed Khan, killing him. Khan was an ISIL emire involved in recruiting and participating in attacks in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.[cxxii]

july27manbij.gif

Fireball from coalition airstrike on Manbij, 27 July 2016.[cxxiii]

ISWiraqJuly.gif

ISW map for late July 19-25, showing terrorist activity in Iraq.[cxxiv]

Lt. Col. Flando E. Jackson, USAF, died on 4 August in Southwest Asia from non-combat injuries sustained during support for Operation Inherent Resolve.[cxxv]

m777.JPG

Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force “Strike”, carries out a fire mission with their M777 howitzer in support of Iraqi Security Forces operating at Kara Soar Base, 7 August 2016.[cxxvi] Artillery fire missions are not counted in any of the coalition air campaign strike tallies, nor are the Russian or Syrian regime figures.

strikedataaugust.jpg

CJTF OIR strikes for August 2016. Manbij, close to the Turkish border, continued to be targeted, receiving 144 strikes, more than twice as many as Mosul (61) and more than three times as many as Qayyarah (49). Ar Raqqah, the Islamic State’s capital in Syria, was only struck 14 times, for 3% of all strikes. 522 strikes were conducted in August.

On 1 August the US conducted an airstrike against Sirte, Libya, stating that the airstrike had been requested by the Libyan government to counter ISIL forces.[cxxvii]

august14sultan

August 9: Coalition airstrikes destroy ISIL command and control node near Sultan Abdallah, Iraq.[cxxviii]

A terrorist attack was carried out in Southern Turkey on 10 August.[cxxix] On 14 August the DOD announced that Staff Sgt. Christopher A Wilbur, US Army, 36 years old, died from non-combat injuries on 12 August, in Kandahar, Afghanistan while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.[cxxx]

On 13 August, Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they had occupied Manbij.[cxxxi] On 15 August the US DOD announced the liberation of Manbij.[cxxxii]

On August 23rd one US soldier, Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28 years old, of Irvine California, was killed and another wounded, along with 6 Afghan Security Forces soldiers in an IED blast in Helmand province.[cxxxiii]

August25factory.gif

Coalition airstrike destroys an ISIL VBIED factory near Mosul on 25 August.[cxxxiv]

turkey01.jpg

Turkish APCs head towards Jarablus on August 25. Turkey began its armed intervention in the Syrian Civil War on 24 August, taking aim against both Kurdish and ISIL fighters.

The delicate diplomatic situation between Turkey and the Kurdish YPG forces in Manbij was redressed somewhat when Kurdish forces withdrew from Manbij on 25 August.[cxxxv]

On 30 August the US conducted an airstrike against Abu Muhammad Al-Adani, near Al Bab, Syria. Al-Adani, who was killed, was an ISIL spokesman and recruiter, responsible for organizing lone-wolf attacks.[cxxxvi] Another strike, carried out 7 September against Raqqa in Syria, killed Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad (“Dr. Wa’il), a senior ISIL leader, information minister, and a member of the Senior Shura Council. Wa’il was credited with overseeing production of the Islamic State’s gruesome propaganda videos.[cxxxvii]

The DOD announced that 1st Lt. Jeffrey D. Cooper, 25 years old, had died September 10 in Kuwait from non-combat-related injuries.[cxxxviii] On September 9, US Air Force Chief of Staff, General David Goldein stated that the air campaign was gaining momentum.[cxxxix]

airborne.gif

11 September 2016, Task Force “Strike”, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, trains with 15th Iraqi Army Division soldiers during their advise and assist mission in support of CJTF-OIR in Kuwait.[cxl]

trainingbrit.jpg

13 September, 7RAR (7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment) soldiers train with ISF at Taji.

On 16 September Warrant Officer Travis R. Tamayo, 32, of Brownsville, Texas died from a non-combat related incident in Abu Dhabi, UAE, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.[cxli]

On 17 September, the DOD announced that it may have struck Syrian regime forces near Dayr Az Zawr.[cxlii] On 20 September the US Navy announced the death of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate, Airman, Devon M. Faulkner, 24, who died from non-combat related injuries while supporting Operation Odyssey Lightning, the US campaign in Libya.[cxliii]

ERicFanning.gif

21 September, 2016. US Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, takes photographs with Task Force Strike soldiers during his visit to the Combined Joint Task Force.[cxliv]

ISF forces raised the Iraqi flag over Sharqat on 23 September, liberating the city.[cxlv]

CJTFtraining.jpg

Infographic provided on the CJTF OIR website showing total training establishment as of September 24.[cxlvi]

CtNx8heWAAEgosG.jpg

September 25, 2016. CJTFOIR commander, Lt. General Stephen J. Townsend met with XVIII Airborne Corps soldiers at the Qayyarah airfield, Iraq.[cxlvii] XVIII Airborne Corps had previously led the coalition mission in Afghanistan, completing its tour there in December 2014. Townsend, commanding XVIII Airborne Corps, replaced Lt. General Sean MacFarland, III Armored Corps, shortly after 10 August, 2016. Townsend is expected to oversee the CJTF-OIR assaults on Mosul (Operation Conquest) and Raqqa, the ISIL capitals in Iraq and Syria. Russian airstrikes against Aleppo dramatically accelerated at the end of September, as Syrian regime forces prepared to enter the city in what many expect will be the decisive battle of the Syrian Civil War.[cxlviii]

tornado.jpg

RAF Tornado with 500 lb/230 kg Paveway IV laser-guided bombs on a strike mission, September 23, 2016.[cxlix]

Conclusions

F4.JPG

USAF F-4C Wild Weasel flying over North Vietnam, December 1972.[cl]

During Operation Linebacker I between May and October 1972, 150,000 tons of munitions were dropped on North Vietnam; probably more than 130 kilotons: 300 million lbs.[cli] 40,000 tons were dropped on the area around An Loc between April and June 1972, while B-52s, flying 2,700 sorties, dropped 57,000 tons in Quang Tri Province. 18,000 sorties were flown in Military Region I, including Hue and Quang Tri.[clii] The B-52 Operation Linebacker II raids over eleven days in December 1972 produced 729 sorties and more than 20,000 tons dropped: 40 million lbs. One million tons of bombs were dropped during Operation Rolling Thunder, March 1965 to November 1968, the equivalent of 40 B-52s dropping full payloads, 800 tons, per day.[cliii]

B52.JPG

B-52 refueling over Southeast Asia, 1967.[cliv] Operation Arc Light preceded Linebacker. B-52Ds could deliver 40,000 lbs of bombs. In the 1990s, the B-52G delivered 66,000 lbs of bombs, and modernized B-52Hs can carry 70,000 lbs, a typical strike package consisting of eighteen 1000 lb mk83 bombs.

In Iraq and Syria the tempo of the air campaign remains enormous, with 17,369 weapons releases for the first seven months of 2016, with an average of almost 2,500 launches per month. In December 2015, 21,113 sorties yielded 715 strikes that delivered 3,139 releases (often described as “bombs dropped”). That year a total of 21,113 sorties were flown. Of those, at least 9,914 had resolved in a weapons launch, with a number of estimates putting the total number of bombs dropped and guided missiles fired (presumably excluding cannon expended, although cannon attacks are included in the strike figures), at over 20,000 for 2015. For the first seven months of 2016, the figure was 12,350 sorties, with 6,575 of those sorties resulting in a weapons launch.

kcl135.JPG

KC-135 Stratotanker flies over New Jersey on 31 August 2016.[clv] KC-135 and other refueling assets conducted 46,535 aircraft refuelings as of 31 July 2016, year to date.[clvi]

In April 2016 there were 2,582 weapons releases, then 2,341 coalition aircraft weapon releases in May.[clvii] There were 3,167 in June (almost double the quantity of launches in June the previous year),[clviii] and in July 2016 the B-52s began to operate in Afghanistan. In Iraq and Syria, 2,411 weapons were launched that month.[clix] There have been numerous reports that US stockpiles are decreasing, with the munitions industry struggling to keep up with demand for JDAMs, 1000 lb laser guided bombs, and other precision guided ordinance. The coalition is undoubtedly dropping many hundreds of thousands of lbs of munitions on Iraq and Syria, perhaps more than a million of lbs, every month. Keep in mind that none of these figures include Syrian regime airstrikes, or Russian airstrikes in Syria.

B1B2.JPG

In February 2016, Rockwell’s B-1B Lancers, comprising the bulk of the USAF bomber force, and responsible for dropping 1/3 of total ordinance between July and January 2015,[clx] were withdrawn from the CJTF-OIR theatre for systems, weapons (JASSM-ER) and cockpit upgrades. Each B-1 can deliver 125,000 lbs of ordinance, with a typical load of 75,000 lbs of bombs not uncommon. This B-1B, with F-16 and F-15K escort, flies over South Korea on 21 September 2016, UN International Peace Day, in a show of resolve following the latest North Korean nuclear test.[clxi] The B-52s and B-1Bs have now been integrated into the USAF Global Strike Command, and will no doubt be deployed together in the expected air war finale, possibly before the end of the year.

[i] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_134215.htm

[ii] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_130212.htm

[iii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/740029/general-officer-assignments

[iv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/vpotus_baghdad.jpg

[v] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/745287/general-officer-announcement

[vi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/745154/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-lt-gen-thomas-waldhauser

[vii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/747626/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-norways-decision-to-expand-role

[viii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/751030/general-officer-announcements

[ix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/751477/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-danish-minister-of-defense-peter-chri

[x] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/757136/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[xi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/759621/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-belgiums-expanded-role-in-the-c

[xii] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_130941.htm

[xiii]

[xiv] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_131090.htm

[xv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/780277/general-officer-assignments

[xvi] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/_b4a8635.jpg

[xvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/790166/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-singaporean-prime-minister-lee-hsien

[xviii] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_131963.htm

[xix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/791045/command-senior-enlisted-leader-assignment

[xx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/794803/readout-of-deputy-secretary-of-defense-bob-works-meeting-with-montenegrin-minis

[xxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/794218/general-officer-assignments

[xxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/796688/general-officer-assignments

[xxiii] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/2_p061416ps-0381.jpg

[xxiv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/p061516ps-0402.jpg

[xxv] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_132431.htm

[xxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/799360/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-british-secretary-of-state-for-defens

[xxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/798513/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-turkish-minister-of-defense-fikri-ik

[xxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/799360/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-british-secretary-of-state-for-defens

[xxix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/799690/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-ukrainian-minister-of

[xxx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/801790/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-kingdom-of-saudi-arabi

[xxxi] http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/APR-JUN%202016%20AFG%20Threat%20Assessment%20Map%20PDF%20final%20%281%29_0.pdf

[xxxii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Enhancing_Security_and_Stability_in_Afghanistan-June_2016.pdf

[xxxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/803046/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[xxxiv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/804931/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-israeli-minister-of-defense-avigdor-l

[xxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/805485/statement-by-secretary-carter-on-polands-decision-to-expand-campaign-against-is

[xxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/805527/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-new-zealands-decision-to-extend

[xxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/808727/readout-of-deputy-secretary-works-meeting-with-dutch-minister-of-defense-secret

[xxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/812022/readout-from-secretary-carters-call-with-uk-state-secretary-for-defense-michael

[xxxix] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_132812.htm

[xl] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/814822/statement-from-secretary-carter-on-fallujah

[xli] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/2_p062916ps-0719.jpg

[xlii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/775865/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-qatari-minister-of-state-for-defensege/image_file/p062816ps-0823.jpg

[xliii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/819791/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-turkish-minister-of-defense-fikri-ik

[xliv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/pod1-p070616ps-0128.jpg

[xlv] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_133044.htm

[xlvi] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_133039.htm

[xlvii] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_133048.htm

[xlviii] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_133042.htm

[xlix] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_133060.htm

[l] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/832439/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-turkish-minister-of-defense-fikri-iik

[li] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/832829/defense-secretary-commends-iraqi-forces-announces-new-accelerants-to-combat-isi

[lii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/840876/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-french-minister-of-defense-jean-yves-le

[liii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/850006/readout-of-secretary-carters-call-with-turkish-minister-of-defense-fikri-iik

[liv] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_134215.htm

[lv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/850679/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-french-minister-of-defense-jean-yves

[lvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/858304/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[lvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/879127/general-officer-assignments

[lviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/885684/command-senior-enlisted-leader-assignment

[lix] http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/10%20-%2029%20AUG%20Russian%20Airstrikes.pdf

[lx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/936475/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-israeli-minister-of-defense-avigdor-l

[lxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/937226/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-turkish-minister-of-national-defense

[lxii] http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/ISIS%20Turkey%20Map.pdf

[lxiii] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/16/readout-presidents-national-security-council-meeting-counter-isil

[lxiv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/946209/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-russia-video-conference

[lxv] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_img_full/image/image_file/p092016ps-0057.jpg

[lxvi] http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/photos_135173.htm

[lxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/953167/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-ash-carters-meeting-with-australias-prime-minis

[lxviii] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cs-3JXqUsAA8Fmv.jpg

[lxix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/958052/statement-from-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-additional-support-to-iraqi-c

[lxx] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/03/21/u-s-air-war-against-isis-enters-new-phase-but-the-fight-for-mosul-is-coming/

[lxxi] http://www.inherentresolve.mil/Portals/1/Documents/Strike%20Releases/2016/04April/20160407%20Strike%20Release%20Final.pdf?ver=2016-04-07-084253-203

[lxxii] http://www.inherentresolve.mil/Portals/1/Documents/Strike%20Releases/2016/04April/20160415%20Strike%20Release%20Final.pdf?ver=2016-04-15-081540-793

[lxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBXH_2Vh2y0

[lxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGQ1dwLfyE4

[lxxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um2cTjCsatI

[lxxvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nulyzL6jwqg

[lxxvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdE-ZIFgLds

[lxxviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgqJuGGKi9Y

[lxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4YdRQ0iiWE

[lxxx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Unnu81Emvuw

[lxxxi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/751070/department-of-defense-identifies-navy-casualty

[lxxxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/754273/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[lxxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW3y49ULreY

[lxxxiv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/756104/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-hostage-rescue-in-afghanistan

[lxxxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwelYG6Q-94

[lxxxvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSkdBnzkVQQ

[lxxxvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXzUH0T7fqE

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

[lxxxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H6JEesdcK0

[xc] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/778259/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-airstrike-against-taliba ; http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/778380/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-us-airstrike-against-taliban-le

[xci] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/784079/dod-identifies-navy-casualty

[xcii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/788062/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-airstrike-in-somalia

[xciii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH4X-EGtDYo

[xciv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtjtCn896yU

[xcv] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-falluja-idUSKCN0YL1B0

[xcvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvnMY7u026c

[xcvii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kr1eoi94es

[xcviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z04I8iCHcw

[xcix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO53IUFXols

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

[ci] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/810435/dod-identifies-navy-casualty

[cii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/823506/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-strike-targeting-isil-milit

[ciii] http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.727142

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

[cv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCnrlEeQlwA

[cvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXb1GSDxeSA

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

[cviii] http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-airstrikes-syria-june-3-28-2016

[cix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lqJ89GgiRs

[cx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM4TGOJgon4

[cxi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPPPybddQ0A

[cxii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx3emfVNoN8

[cxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iby9R5p1MAc

[cxiv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/836651/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-death-of-umar-khalifa

[cxv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEHu2ZYIDPw

[cxvi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY1og3vuO4M

[cxvii] https://www.sofmag.com/barksdale-airmen-continue-b-52-mission-against-isis/

[cxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/849496/dod-identifies-air-force-casualty

[cxix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSiHbRUy6WI

[cxx] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvBofL5Tgtg

[cxxi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKVk2h0xcps

[cxxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/913820/statement-by-deputy-press-secretary-gordon-trowbridge-on-strike-targeting-an-is

[cxxiii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc8jV4MJjw

[cxxiv] http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-airstrikes-syria-june-3-28-2016

[cxxv] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/906735/dod-identifies-air-force-casualty

[cxxvi] http://www.inherentresolve.mil/News/Article/954941/coalition-continues-counter-isil-progress-across-iraq-syria/

[cxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/881794/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-us-air-strike-in-libya

[cxxviii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bsawnnI4sQ

[cxxix] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/911063/statement-from-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-attacks-in-turkey

[cxxx] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/914092/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[cxxxi] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-islamic-state-idUSKCN10N178

[cxxxii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/914947/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-the-liberation-of-manbij

[cxxxiii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/923444/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-ash-carter-on-us-casualties-in-afghanistan ; http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/924303/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[cxxxiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eQSmoK99Rs

[cxxxv] http://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-send-more-tanks-into-syria-as-kurds-pull-out-of-manbij-1472129794

[cxxxvi] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/930843/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-precision-airstrike-targeti ; http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/941733/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-strike-against-isil-senio

[cxxxvii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/946983/statement-from-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-airstrike-against-isil-se

[cxxxviii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/940436/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[cxxxix] https://www.airforcetimes.com/articles/fight-against-isis-gaining-momentum-goldfein-says-on-npr

[cxl] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac62VSqMSc0

[cxli] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/947846/dod-identifies-army-casualty

[cxlii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/947848/statement-by-pentagon-press-secretary-peter-cook-on-coalition-airstrike-in-syria

[cxliii] http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/951831/department-of-defense-identifies-navy-casualty

[cxliv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNvMQfSMzX0

[cxlv] https://twitter.com/OIRSpox/status/779367961266098176

[cxlvi] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtNGQ6BWcAAB-SA.jpg

[cxlvii] https://twitter.com/CJTFOIR/status/780092970074791936

[cxlviii] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/01/john-kerry-suggests-syrian-elections-include-assad-as-hospitals/

[cxlix] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtEZ6ZvWYAApNza.jpg

[cl] http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Upcoming/Photos.aspx?igphoto=2000558442

[cli] https://t.co/VuTIIKOYv2

[clii] Drew Middleton, Air War Vietnam, Arno Press, New York Times Company, New York, 1978.

[cliii] Karnow, Stanley, Vietnam: A History, p. 468

[cliv] http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Upcoming/Photos.aspx?igphoto=2000270836

[clv] http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/938871/af-week-in-photos.aspx

[clvi] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Airpower_31_July_2016.pdf

[clvii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Airpower_31_May_2016.pdf

[clviii] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Airpower_30_June_2016.pdf

[clix] http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2014/0814_iraq/docs/Airpower_31_July_2016.pdf

[clx] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/03/21/u-s-air-war-against-isis-enters-new-phase-but-the-fight-for-mosul-is-coming/

[clxi] http://www.af.mil/News/Photos.aspx?igphoto=2001638865#.V-k6nlNUE0E.twitter

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.