ISIS in Mosul is largely cut off from the rest of its organization, and relying on stockpiles to continue its fight against Iraqi forces. However, some small smugglers may be able to sneak in equipment to the fight, including quadcopter drones. A defense official with Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve speaking with reporters on background Wednesday said that Amazon.com is not delivering to Mosul, so most of the quadcopters and other drones used by ISIS to surveil and even strike Iraqi fighters were stockpiled. However, trucks may be able to use ancient “rat lines” to sneak in additional equipment. ISIS drones have pestered Iraqi forces during their approach into Western Mosul, though they have not had a “strategic effect” in the fight, the official said. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, the deputy commander of Air Forces Central Command, said last week that the coalition fighting ISIS needs to focus on the group’s use of drones not as single targets to attack in the field but instead as a weapon system to destroy from training, to stockpile, to the deployment. “I’d rather it not show up,” Silveria said.
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.