WASHINGTON, D.C.–A well-funded, well-equipped, and sophisticated army is how Sen. Roger Wicker described ISIS, the Islamic state, to the Senate Monday, asking the president to provide more information on his plan to defeat the group before it grows bigger and threatens more Americans.
Wicker said he believes Congress should support the Commander-in-Chief, but before they can, they need to know how an airstrike campaign, without soldiers actually on the ground, will be effective in putting down such a large movement.
Wicker is a senior member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. His comments addressed the skepticism that some DC lawmakers feel after Pres. Obama’s speech last week. That skepticism is also being reflected in polls, some of which indicate that a majority of the American people are not sure about how effective the president’s plan may be.
“Congress and the American people are now seeking specifics about the new strategy. I am hopeful that the new plan is strong enough and broad enough to be successful long-term. U.S. leadership and the projection of military might are critical to defeating the ISIS extremists,” said Wicker.
“It is clear that our efforts to date have been insufficient to overthrow this well-funded, well-equipped, and sophisticated army. It will take more than limited airstrikes and the modest deployment of military advisers to curb the rapid spread of ISIS across northern Iraq and Syria. The United States must be committed to building a coalition that fosters regional cooperation, dismantles the group’s considerable financial network, and assists the Iraqi, Kurdish, and Free Syrian forces. And I want to help the President in his request for authorization to train and equip these forces. This coalition needs to include Muslim-majority nations who are all-in – with a demonstrated resolve to defeat the Islamic terrorists in their own neighborhood.”
“I believe Congress should support our commander-in-chief in the fight against ISIS – a fight that can result in victory and a peace that can be sustained. I look forward to hearing more details about the President’s plans when Secretary Hagel and General Martin Dempsey testify before the Armed Services Committee tomorrow. There are still questions to be answered. For example:
- If public opinion turns, will the Administration lose its resolve?
- How long will it take to win, how long will it take to crush ISIS?
- What is the definition of success? What is the definition of victory in this case?
- If we accomplish our objectives, will we once again abandon our gains as we did after the surge in Iraq?
- What is the plan to eliminate the terrorist group’s financial network?
- And are the President and congressional leaders willing to find a solution to defense sequestration in order to fulfill the mission, if more resources are required? And, more resources will be required, Mr. President.
“Addressing these questions is important to understanding the specific goals and aims of the President’s strategy, which are yet to be fleshed out. Americans and Congress deserve this clarity.”
Wicker also addressed what he believes is the need for the Senate to pass the “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) in order to provide the nation’s armed forces with the resources they require to fulfill their missions.
“Congress has the responsibility to provide the resources that our U.S. military needs for its missions. We do this through our appropriations, through the power of the purse, and the “National Defense Authorization Act,” which has garnered bipartisan support for the past 52 years.”
“An annual blueprint of the military priorities is vital to making sure that our troops have what they need to protect our national security interests at home and abroad. This year’s bill, for example, includes a provision to stave off drastic cuts to the U.S. Army, which would put troop strength at levels not seen since before World War II. Well-trained units like the 155thHeavy Brigade Combat Team in my home state of Mississippi should not be jeopardized by shortsighted and ill-considered proposals by the Obama Administration. Instead, under the committee bill an independent commission would have the opportunity to make recommendations on force structure and size before the National Guard personnel could be cut or the Apache attack helicopters could be transferred.”
“In conclusion, Mr. President, we have work to do. The Senate Armed Services Committee and the House of Representatives have passed the defense authorization bill. It is time for the Senate to follow suit. America has the most formidable fighting force in the world, and this presence must remain resilient as dangerous groups like ISIS put our interests at risk. The rapid rise of these barbaric terrorists is a wake-up call for U.S. leadership. Now that the President has declared his intention to “degrade and destroy” ISIS militants, we must ensure that the mission is fulfilled.”