The US strike against ISIS in Libya likely killed Tunisian national Noureddine Chouchane, who was described as a “senior facilitator in Libya” and was the mastermind of a March 18, 2015, attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the death of Chouchane and the destruction of the training camp shows this was a “successful strike” against ISIS. “These particular fighters posed a threat to our interests in the region, to Libya, and to the US overall,” Cook said during a Friday briefing. The US will continue to monitor ISIS camps in the country and take similar strikes if necessary, Cook said. The US has deployed Special Operations Forces to Libya to assess the growing threat of ISIS, and the group has helped inform the US decision making against the group, Cook said. The existing 2001 Authorization on the Use of Military Force gives the Pentagon sufficient legal basis for expanding the operations against the group, though Cook called on Congress to approve a new authorization to give the Defense Department expanded legal authority in the fight. (See also: Gauging Support for a New AUMF.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.