The outlines of the probable counterterrorism strategy under U.S. President Donald Trump have emerged. And judging from what is known, though a more intense campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups could lie ahead, the core of Washington's strategy — relying on local forces to do the brunt of the fighting — will likely remain unchanged.
On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis briefed White House strategists on his 30-day strategic review of the fight against terrorism. Based on Pentagon statements and leaked information, the options he outlined represent more an intensification of current efforts rather than a seismic shift in strategy. The United States may look to increase its military presence in a number of areas, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Somalia, but the commitment of U.S. forces to any of those theaters is expected to remain limited.
The options presented in the review, the Department of Defense has emphasized, are more a framework for broader discussion rather than a ready-to-execute military plan. And since the details of the review are classified as secret, there is much that the public does not know about what Mattis laid out.