Terry Describes “Deliberate” Targeting Procedures

With no actual US ground troops in Iraq or Syria, targeting in Operation Inherent Resolve works differently than in Afghanistan, where joint terminal attack controllers served as forward observers in many areas, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said Thursday at a Pentagon briefing. “This is a lot like what happened back when I was a captain,” Terry said, noting Iraqi forces work with US planners and advisers to work out a “scheme of maneuver,” where forces are moved and mapped in certain areas, ensuring “friendly fire” incidents don’t occur. “If you understand the concept of control measures and maps, it allows us to track them and understand where (Iraqi forces) are,” Terry said. The coalition also makes extensive use of aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms to track both Iraqi forces and ISIS terrorists, and coordinates that information through command centers in both Baghdad and Irbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. “The coalition is really very deliberate about strikes,” he said. “We have great capabilities in precision … but if you are not careful, you can be precisely wrong, you can strike ISF and create a bad situation.” Terry emphasized that to date there are no confirmed cases of coalition airstrikes inflicting civilian casualties or friendly fire incidents. “We have a very good record,” he added.