US special operation teams have already “established contact” with new forces in the battle against ISIS in Syria and have created new lines of communication with local partners to help bolster the fight, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. The Pentagon in late October said it would deploy small special operations teams to the fight, and Carter said on Wednesday that while he could not give specifics, these teams are on the ground and have started their work. “These operators have helped focus the efforts of the local, capable forces against key ISIL vulnerabilities, including their lines of communication,” Carter said Wednesday at Fort Campbell, Ky. “They are generating new insights that we turn into new targets, new strikes, and new opportunities. In short, they are generating a virtuous cycle of action.” (See also Airmen Integral Part of Expeditionary Targeting Force)
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.