FEB 1, 2016
Please note: This commentary has been updated to reflect a new briefing by a Department of Defense spokesman.
In November 2015, the Burke Chair issued a detailed report on the history of fighting in Iraq and Syria entitled Creeping Incrementalism: U.S. Strategy in Iraq and Syria from 2011 to 2015 . In the months that have followed, the United States has continued this process of creeping incrementalism in building up its forces in Iraq and Syria and its efforts to degrade and dislodge ISIS from its ability to act as proto-state.
Still Creeping, Still Incrementalism, and Still no Coherent Strategy
The United States and its allies have made some gains in the process, and the U.S. led coalition now provides substantial amounts of airpower in attacks on ISIS and in support of Iraqi, Kurdish, and Arab rebel forces. In broad terms, however, the United States has still reacted slowly to the threat posed by ISIS and the internal division with Iraq and Syria, and made only low levels of incremental increases in its forces.