ISIL has changed the way it operates since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve as a result of coalition strikes against it, the commander of US Air Forces Central Command said Thursday. “Before, I don’t think they understood airpower. Now they do,” Lt. Gen. Charles Brown told Air Force Magazine at AWS16. “When they hear airplanes and understand we’re close by, they take precautions,” he said. The coalition last year began airstrikes against ISIS fuel trucks, oil-gas separation facilities, and cash collection facilities in an effort to cut off the terrorist organization’s ability to fund itself. Brown said those efforts have worked. “We’re hearing they’re not able to pay their fighters,” and are cutting their standard salary by half or more, Brown said. Additionally, ISIS can no longer provide basic services to the general population “living in the so-called caliphate,” he said. Oil prices have dropped—Brown joked that ISIL is “having a half-price sale”—because they need the money to fund operations. “Morale is not as high as it used to be,” he 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.