Defense Secretary Ash Carter “has not been satisfied with the pace” of the war against ISIS, but he is satisfied that progress is being made, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Monday. The US is continuing to provide support—including airstrikes—to support the campaign to retake Fallujah, which is being directed by the Iraqi government, Cook said. “The multi-sectarian approach of Prime Minister [Haider] Abadi, we believe, is the right approach, and we think it’s important to carry that through on the ground,” he said. Cook added that Carter understands why the Iraqis felt it was “so important” to begin the fight for Fallujah recently, and “does not think it’s going to compromise” other operations, including the push to retake Mosul. Cook also noted that the Pentagon feels the fight in the Manbij area in Syria is “moving in a positive fashion,” and that US-supported forces in Raqqah are continuing to isolate that city. However, he said, “the secretary’s view is that the sooner this threat is defeated, the better.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.