Press Briefing by Secretary Carter and Gen. Dunford in the Pentagon Briefing Room

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER:  Hello, everyone.

Okay.  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you so much for being here.

General Dunford and I have both been traveling quite a bit recently, but we had a lot of opportunities to see our traveling press and to speak with them, together with our commanders.  We thought this was a good moment to join you here at the briefing room at the Pentagon and update you on some important initiatives, starting with counter-ISIL.

Before we turn to that, I want to express my condolences to the people of Germany for the string of attacks they've faced in recent days.  While the motives behind these attacks may still be unclear, our unshakable resolve to stand with Germany in the fight against terrorism is not.

I also want to express my deepest sympathies to all those killed and injured and their families in this weekend's bombing in Kabul.  ISIL has claimed responsibility for that attack.  We will continue to do what we can to support the Afghan security forces as they take on the ISIL threat in that country and do our part to take on ISIL wherever it might exist.

And as part of our efforts to continue to accelerate ISIL's defeat, which is certain, last week, at Joint Base Andrews, I hosted representatives from every member of our counter-ISIL military coalition for a very productive discussion.

We focused on our efforts to advance the three core objectives of our coalition military command plan that General Dunford and I devised, discussed with the president late last year, and have subsequently worked with our coalition partners to carry out.

First, destroying ISIL's parent tumor in Iraq and Syria.  Second, combating ISIL's metastasis everywhere they emerge around the world.  And three, and most important, supporting our government, law enforcement, Homeland Security and intelligence partners as they protect the homeland and our people.

I convened this meeting at a critical time.  We now have momentum in this fight and clear results on the ground in Iraq and Syria.  Together, we made the further plans for coming operations, and the additional commitments we identified that we'll need to insure our coalition delivers ISIL the lasting defeat it deserves.

Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our local partners and our service members, as well as additional contributions from the nations that participated last week, we seized opportunities, reinforced gains, taken the fight to the enemy.

But we're not going to rest.  As recent terror attacks around the world remind us, ISIL's safe havens threaten not only the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian people, but also the security of our own citizens.  And the sooner we defeat in ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the safer our countries will be.

We reviewed and agreed on the next plays in the campaign, which, while the chairman and I can't discuss them publicly yet, culminate in the collapse of ISIL's control over the cities of Mosul and Raqqa.

And we identified the capabilities and support required to execute those next plays.  Many countries, including the United States, have recently committed to make additional contributions to the campaign, and some of those commitments were made just last week.  And I expect we will be hearing from others in the weeks and months ahead.

We all share an enemy in ISIL, and we're all in this fight together.

In addition to my intensive dialogue with ministers, I discussed the campaign individually with representatives from many of our partner nations, including my counterparts from France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and of course, Minister al-Abadi from Iraq.

I also spoke with the Turkish defense minister over the phone last Tuesday.  He assured me nothing would interrupt their support for our collective campaign against ISIL.  And I'm pleased to see that coalition air operations are back on track at Incirlik.

Following the meeting of defense ministers, I joined Secretary Kerry at the State Department for the first ever joint counter-ISIL foreign and defense ministerial, where all countries represented voiced their unwavering resolve to destroy the fact and the idea of an Islamic State based on ISIL's barbaric ideology.

At both ministerials, I made it clear that while we have momentum in the fight, and the plans and the resources and the motivated local partners to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, we must prepare for what comes after the fight in Iraq and Syria.

The counter-ISIL's -- counter-ISIL coalition simply cannot allow our stabilization and governance efforts to lag behind our military progress.

We also -- we know that the -- defeating ISIL is more than a one country, one military or one ministry job.  We all have work to do and we have to work together.

These were very important meetings and each will help as we continue to accelerate the military campaign against ISIL.  But there's more hard work to be done, and this week, I'll travel to Fort Bragg in North Carolina to speak with soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps who will soon deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

I'm looking forward to thanking these troops and their families for their service, speaking to them about the mission, as always, answering their questions as they go off to Iraq, even as I did earlier this year -- late last year, rather, to the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell in Kentucky for the first days of the campaign.

And I'll also meet with Lieutenant General Steven Townsend, who will soon take over the -- the overall operational commander from III Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland.  Sean MacFarland has done a tremendous job executing every plan -- play we ran this year with excellence and I'm confident that Steve also will continue that strong and steady leadership with the next plays as we continue to accelerate our military campaign.

My travel this week will also advance two of my other top priorities; building and rebuilding bridges to America's innovative technology community so that our military technology remains unrivaled in the years and decades ahead and ensuring that we continue to recruit top talent for the force of the future so that our people remain unrivaled in the years and decades ahead.

First, in Boston, I'll continue my outreach to the private sector and provide another update on the important work that the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental has been doing, as well as have an opportunity to announce the next steps for the Defense Innovation Board.  I'll also meet with military recruiters from the region to discuss our efforts to continue building the force of the future by drawing the best talent from every part of the country.

As I've said in the past, we have to fish in more ponds, new ponds and ponds we haven't been in for quite a while.  So I'm looking forward to hearing from these recruiters about the opportunities there are, the challenges they're seeing when it comes to recruiting talented Americans from the northeast.

And finally, I'll also travel to Chicago to visit a military entrance processing station to see how they are modernizing as part of the -- part of the Force of the Future Initiative.

I'll also travel to Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois to meet with some of our newest recruits as they go through Navy boot camp and wish them well as they join the force of the future as sailors in the U.S. Navy.

With that, I'll turn it over to Chairman Dunford.

GENERAL JOSEPH DUNFORD:  Before taking your questions, I just simply want to join the secretary in expressing my condolences to the people of Germany and to Afghanistan, particularly for that horrific attack that took place in Kabul over the weekend.

Thanks, Mr. Secretary.

SEC. CARTER:  Thanks.

Okay.  Now, we'll go to your questions.  Bob?

Q:  Secretary, I'd like to start with a question for General Dunford on Russia and Syria.  This idea of a military partnership between the U.S. and Russian in Syria, I'm wondering -- this idea, where the U.S. would engage in more -- in intelligence and targeting information sharing with the Russians and the Russians would eventually ground the Syrian Arab force.  Do you think this is a viable proposition?

And also, could I ask you both your views on this related question about the U.S.-backed opposition forces essentially being in league with al-Nusra on the ground?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Bob, on the first piece, I think you know today our engagement with the Russians is limited to contacts to ensure safety of flight and the safety of our people on the ground.

Secretary Kerry is negotiating at this time or discussing with the Russians some other alternatives.  But without seeing that specific framework within which other contacts may be made it's hard for me to comment on whether or not it would be viable.  But again I'd emphasize today, our contact with the Russians is absolutely limited to safety of flight and safety of our people on the ground.

I've seen the same open source reporting that you have.  Opposition you know with al-Nusra and I think that makes it all the more important that we continue to conduct operations against ISIL in Syria to ensure that the opposition forces realize that there is a credible force that's going to be there.

Q:  Are they actually operating together or intermingled with the U.S.-backed forces, al-Nusra?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Not with U.S.-backed forces.

SEC. CARTER:  I don't have that much to add to what the Chairman said.  I'm sorry is this mic on?  Oh okay.

We'll see whether it's possible this is what Secretary Kerry's exploring for the Russians to begin to do the right thing in Syria.  They obviously have been backing the regime which has had the effect of prolonging the civil war.  Whereas we had hoped that they would promote a political solution and transition to put an end to the civil war which is the beginning of all this violence in Syria.  And then combat extremists rather than moderate opposition which has to be part of that transition.

So they're a long way from doing that.  But that's what Secretary Kerry's trying to promote.  And getting the Russians to do the right thing.  For now as the Chairman indicated, our work with them is focused on making sure that we don't have --

Q:  (inaudible)

SEC. CARTER:  I think, no I'm very enthusiastic about the idea of the Russians getting on side and doing the right thing.  And I think that would be a good thing if they did.  I think we're a ways from getting that frame of mind in Russia.  But that's what Secretary Kerry is working towards.

GEN. DUNFORD:  Bob I want to clarify one thing.  We're supporting the Syrian-Arab Coalition and Syrian democratic forces and what we call moderate Syrian opposition forces.  So to be clear, we don't have any indication that the forces that we are providing support to in Syria are cooperating or intermingled with al-Nusra.

SEC. CARTER:  Mik?

Q:  Mr. Secretary, given their responsibilities and authorities in cybersecurity, does the DOD or NSA or any U.S. agency for that matter, have any evidence that the Russians, either their agents, operatives or government, that they hacked into the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee?

SEC. CARTER:  I don't have anything for you.  The FBI is leading the investigation of that incident, Mik.  I really have to refer you to the FBI Director.

Q:  And just because of the representatives of the DNC keep quoting experts and researchers, it almost sounds like the reporters are referring to their government sources.  But what is the obligation of the U.S. government to inform anyone, including the likes of the DNC, if there is evidence that a foreign government for example, has hacked into --

SEC. CARTER:  I really need to refer that to the FBI.  They, they're conducting this investigation now, Mik, and to see what happened here.  And we'll wait and see what the facts say.

Let's see.  Missy.

Q:  Okay my question is for either of you about Afghanistan.  There was news today of a spike in civilian casualties in Afghanistan.  At the same time, there was the recent additional revision of the plans for the U.S. remainder force and the granting of additional authorities to General Nicholson in Afghanistan.

What does all that together say about the idea of ending the war in Afghanistan during President Obama's presidency?  And is it fair to say that the U.S. is and will continue to be at war not just with ISIS and Al Qaida, but also with the Taliban going into the next presidency?

SEC. CARTER:  I'll start, and then the chairman.

Well, let's see.  The new authorities you refer you, Missy, were intended and are having the effect of strengthening the ability of General Nicholson and U.S. forces to support Afghan forces this fighting season, in order to make sure that Afghan security forces, which after all are the ones that are in the lead there, are successful in this fighting season, and in recognition of the fact that even though they've come a long ways since when they started, they still benefit from the support of U.S. forces.

With respect to the other part of your question that you started with at the beginning on civilian casualties -- go ahead, chairman.

GEN. DUNFORD:  If I could -- (inaudible), Mr. Secretary.

Missy, I saw the report this morning.  I think there's probably a couple of things to highlight.  One, almost 90 percent of the casualties in that report were attributable to the Taliban.  And while it did indicate that an increased number of civilian casualties occurred as a result of actions by Afghan security forces, and I do believe that they're taking every possible measure to mitigate the risk of civilian casualties, I think that's natural since this is the first year, really, there's been an Afghan air force that has flown in support of Afghan ground forces.

So, I did note that there was an increase.  That's one of the reasons why we're continuing in our advise-assist effort.  I was there just last weekend to see the Afghan air force, as a matter of fact, and one of the things we're working on very closely is the integration of their air element with ground forces.  And one of the very important things we emphasize as we work that integration is to mitigate the risk of civilian casualties.

And then with regard to, you know, what's going to happen after this president, I think this president recognized when he approved the request that Secretary Carter made for 2017, as the secretary said, that some areas still lag in terms of capability development for the Afghan forces.  And our continued presence into 2017 and financial support by NATO nations, as approved at Warsaw, will continue out to 2020.

So, I don't think anybody would suggest that our work is complete in Afghanistan, nor will that work be complete anytime in the near future.

SEC. CARTER:  Tara?

Q:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

A couple of questions.  We've seen recent attacks in Germany, Turkey, France.  For the U.S. forces, EUCOM, with their families, what sort of additional protection measures are being taken as these families go on vacation, as they travel?  And is DOD reconsidering whether some of these posts should be accompanied?

SEC. CARTER:  Sure.  Let me start, and then I'll ask the chairman.

Force protection is something we take extremely seriously everywhere around the world.  And it's something that we're constantly assessing in each and every installation where Americans are located.  And when we do that, we take into account the composition of the presence there, including whether there are families or not, and therefore what the need to those families are for travel inside and outside the base and so forth.  And we're doing that in Europe now, as we do that everywhere around the world.

Chairman?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Based on what we're seeing now, Tara, there is no -- just to be clear -- there is no discussion or any indication that we would have to change our accompanied tours in Europe right now.

General Scaparrotti looks at that virtually every day.  We've made adjustments to force protection in the wake of these recent attacks.  But there has absolutely been no consideration -- and as you know -- in other places and other countries when we've had indications that we could no longer adequately provide for our families' security, we have gone to the secretary with a recommendation for an ordered departure, and we've conducted one two or three months ago.

SEC. CARTER:  Did -- did -- you had a follow-up?

Q:  Yeah, a quick follow-up.  Has there been any additional guidance for, you know, going to crowded places, what military families should be doing to protect themselves?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Hey, Tara, there absolutely is.  There is a whole wide range of decisions that General Scaparrotti has made, guidance that he has given to the force to mitigate the risk of terrorist acts.

SEC. CARTER:  (Inaudible).

Q:  Back on civilian casualties.  Have you learned about the -- (inaudible) -- in Manbij?

SEC. CARTER:  That incident is under investigation.  I don't know -- learned since when, but we do not have a -- they -- you know, I think they're --

Q:  You -- you spoke about it at Andrews.

SEC. CARTER:  Yes.  We don't have -- the investigation hasn't been completed, so I don't have anything to add to that.  The investigation is going on.

The only thing I can say, without prejudging, what we learned from the investigation is to just say again how seriously we take these things and how important it is to take them seriously, because we conduct ourselves in a civilized manner.

And we go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.  And if there's a question about whether there are civilian casualties, we investigate that and we're -- we're very transparent about that and we will be in this case.

Let's see who we have here -- Barbara.

Q:  For both of you gentlemen, back to Russia, if I may.

First, Mr. Secretary, this agreement the secretary of state is working on clearly mainly involves military matters for the United States.  So, can you clarify -- I have to assume that both of you are involved in the discussions and have seen the proposed agreement.

So, what does -- and if not, can you please say that you have not?

But what is the bottom line for both of you?  Do you right now trust the Russians enough to share classified intelligence with them about targeting and what U.S. pilots are doing?  Do you trust them right now?

And that's for both of you.  Your bottom line on trusting the Russians.

And also, General Dunford, I recall that last summer, the JCS's unclassified e-mail got hacked for about three weeks.  And it was widely said that you had every reason to believe it was Russians -- the Russians that did it.

So, what is the level of confidence that the Russians aren't hacking into you guys?

And finally, do you believe -- and I realize it's somewhat politically shaded -- a politically shaded question -- do you believe there should be a means test for NATO participation?  In other words, the notion that the U.S. would only come to the defense of a NATO member if they were making a certain financial contribution?

SEC. CARTER:  I'll start off with the question of Russians and the -- and the trust.

I mean, yeah, of course we're -- we're watching those negotiations and discussing those negotiations with Secretary of Kerry -- Secretary Kerry all the time.

They're not based on trust.  They're based on a transaction and on mutual interest to the extent -- and when and as we're able to identify that with the Russians.

Now, our interests are quite clear.  Our interests are to see a political transition promoted, number one, and that puts an end to the violence in Syria and gives the Syrian people back a government and a life that they deserve.  And second, the defeat of extremism there and in Iraq.

And to the -- so those are the U.S. interests.  And to the extent that Russia can align with U.S. interests, we work with them as has been the case in Iran, North Korea and other places where -- where U.S. and Russian interests have aligned.  It's the alignment of those interests that Secretary Kerry's exploring.  That's what it's about -- (inaudible).

Q:  In all candor, sir, do you -- fine.  But do you trust them enough right now to live up to any signature on a piece of paper?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Hey, Barbara, let me -- let me go after the theme the secretary started with, because you asked were we involved or have we been involved in the framing of the discussion that Secretary Kerry's involved with.

And so what my input would be along the lines of and have been along the lines of, we have a transaction.  It's not based on trust and it's based on measures that we take to ensure that our operational security is protected.

Q:  So would you -- and I would like your answer on --

SEC. CARTER:  (inaudible) -- questions.  One more time at this one.

Q:  Well -- (inaudible) -- do you -- do you trust their signature on a piece of paper?  And e-mail hacking? And means test for NATO?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Barbara, we're not entering into a transaction that's founded on trust.  There will be specific procedures and processes in any transaction we might have with the Russians that would -- that would account for protecting our operational security.

Q:  And -- (inaudible) -- NATO, sir?

SEC. CARTER:  Go ahead.

GEN. DUNFORD:  Yeah, I'm not going to answer a NATO question, as you correctly pointed out when you looked at me and said, "I know this is a political question."  So I won't answer that.

But with regard to Russian hacking, we're well aware of state actors to include Russia that have attempted to penetrate our network.  The number one responsibility of the United States Cyber Command is to protect the network, and so we -- we focus on it everyday.

SEC. CARTER:  (off-mic)

Q:  Sure.  I'd like to go to the strike in Manbij last week that seems to have killed over 50 civilians.  The Syrian opposition has asked that the United States, that coalition halt airstrikes while the investigation continues.  Is that something you're looking at?

And -- and the second part for Chairman Dunford, when do you expect the operation for Mosul to start?  Because we've heard it could be as early as October, but we've also heard from U.S. officials sort of doubting the Iraqi force's ability to start.  So in your military assessment, are they ready to retake Mosul?

SEC. CARTER:  With respect -- answering your first question, we're not stopping our support for the forces operating in Manbij.  We are -- we are and will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident and be transparent about the results.  As we continue to support forces operating in Manbij, we'll continue to do what we always do, which is be scrupulous in trying to avoid civilian casualties and transparent when there are claims to the contrary about investigating them and -- an reporting the results.  And we'll do that in this case, too.

GEN. DUNFORD:  You know, for some months -- (inaudible) -- describe Mosul as operations really began in Mosul some months ago and -- with the isolation of Mosul.  And the noose, if you will, has been tightening around Mosul for now probably seven or eight weeks with the performance of the Iraqi security forces.

But the pace of the operation is driven by Iraqi capability and Iraqi political decision-making.  So anything I would tell you about the timing or anything -- frankly, anything any U.S. officer, probably less General MacFarland, would tell you the timing would be speculation because it's purely going to be based on Iraqi capability, Iraqi progress and guidance that Prime Minister Abadi gives to his forces.

I do know that Prime Minister Abadi is interested in getting this done as quickly as possible for obvious reasons, not the least of which is to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people in Mosul.  But he's also aware that, you know, IEDs, regard for civilian casualties, and also putting all the right forces together at the right time will all bear into the timeline for Mosul.

Q:  (inaudible) -- military capabilities -- (inaudible) -- to retake Mosul?

GEN. DUNFORD:  I think right now, the Iraqi security forces are growing the capabilities to be able to do that.  They have a plan.  They have identified the forces necessary to seize Mosul and those forces are now being brought together.  And I think you can see that each day.

SEC. CARTER:  If I can just add to that.  That's precisely what's going on now is the marshaling of those forces -- the training, equipping, the movement of those, and the establishment of the positions -- (inaudible) -- Qayyarah West comes in, from which the envelopment of Mosul will proceed from the south and from the north.

All of that is part of the plan and obviously, like Prime Minister Abadi, we'd all like to get it done as soon as possible, but it's going to depend upon the battlefield schedule.

Tom?

Q:  Staying on the ISIS fight, Michele Flournoy, who of course was number three official here and she could be your successor if Hillary Clinton gets into the White House.  She wrote an op-ed piece a couple of weeks ago in the Washington Post, and she said clearly more has to be done against ISIS.  She called for more weapons for rebel forces, more U.S. airstrikes, more raids by Green Berets, and even the possibility of long-range strikes against Assad's forces.

So clearly, she thinks not enough is being done.  Is she wrong?

SEC. CARTER:  Well, we, too, and I've said this many times, we're looking for opportunities to do more to defeat ISIL.  Our approach -- well, yeah, you mentioned more airstrikes.  We're looking for ways of identifying new targets based on new intelligence.  The air campaign, which has been going on for quite some time, is constantly expanding.  We're looking for more opportunities to train, equip and enable capable, motivated forces like we have in Iraq, like we have in Manbij.

We're looking for more opportunities and more contributions in the area of reconstruction and stabilization to make sure that territory once it's taken from ISIL is secured and governed, and that the people have their lives back and those are prosperous lives.

Outside of Iraq and Syria, and this is an important area as well, that we continue to combat ISIL and it metastasizes.  And then, of course, even though we're in a support role here at home, I know that our intelligence and law enforcement and homeland security officials are also trying to identify opportunities to do more.  I think we all want to hasten and accelerate the defeat of ISIL.  I'm sure that will occur on all of those fronts, but we're trying to identify the ways to do that.

Q:  (inaudible) -- also creates the possibility of long-range strikes against Assad's forces and stop, let's say, barrel bombs.  Is that something that should be considered?

SEC. CARTER:  Well, I think our approach to Assad and to the civil war right now is the one the secretary is pursuing, which is mostly a political approach of trying to promote a political transition in Syria from the current regime to one that includes the moderate opposition and that can bring political peace to Syria, and therefore ultimately security to Syria.

So that's been our -- the American approach.

(CROSSTALK)

SEC. CARTER:  Well, we certainly hope so.  That's what Secretary Kerry is exploring.

Peter?

(CROSSTALK)

Q:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary and Mr. Chairman.

There's been a report out of Turkish media saying that General -- former General John Campbell was one of the organizers of the military coup in Turkey.  Can I get your response to that?


And you had just mentioned that the Turkish Defense Minister had said that relations would continue in response to the counter-ISIL campaign.  How do things like this not strain the U.S.-Turkish relationship?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Hey, Carla, allow me.

I did see that report.  I also saw General Campbell's response.  I'm not sure anyone could give it any better than he did.

That's an absurd report that General Campbell would be involved with something like that.  He's a personal friend and I happen to know that right now he's doing a lot of things and one of them is not planning a coup inside of Turkey.  I really don't know where that report could have come from.

You know probably touch on the relationship piece; I know the secretary can talk about his counterpart.  My counterpart has reached out to me twice in the past week to assure me that they were still committed to the counter-ISIL campaign and to our broader partnership.  Operations have in almost all manners returned to normal in terms of the operations we're conducting from Turkey.  So clearly something that happened last weekend is going to have an impact across the board inside of Turkey.  But we're going to work very closely to try to mitigate that as best we can.

SEC. CARTER:  I'll just add I spoke to my counterpart as the chairman did to his counterpart.  They both assured us that their commitments to combating ISIL would proceed unabated and as he said, we have at Incirlik and other places activities there returning to normal.

Q:  (inaudible)

SEC. CARTER:  Tony?

Q:  Can I get both your views, what would, what results would constitute the defeat of ISIL?  You said a number of times today you're certain, only death and taxes are supposed to be certain.  So what would be some of the signs of the collapse of Raqqa and Mosul that you've alluded to?  What are some of the military signs as opposed to the ideological victory signs --

SEC. CARTER:  Sure.

Q:  That you'll be looking for that the public should be looking for over the next year or so?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Well I think one of them Tony is the steady ability to reclaim the territory in Iraq and Syria.  That's important, I think the defeat and the destruction of ISIL in Iraq and Syria is necessary.  It's not sufficient because it needs to be destroyed elsewhere and it needs to be, we need to protect ourselves here at home.  But it needs to be destroyed in Iraq and Syria because we need to destroy the idea and the fact, that there can be a state based upon this ideology.

ISIL has established itself in Iraq and Syria, even set up a supposed headquarters and capital of a supposed caliphate in Raqqa.  That's the reason why expelling ISIL from Raqqa has larger significance.  And in Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq, and so for the Iraqi people under the Iraqi government going to retake their territory and govern it in a decent way.  It's essential that Mosul be recaptured.

That is why those two objectives among many others, those two military objectives are important.  And that's why defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria is militarily important.  I just say that and then go on to say that that is necessary but not sufficient.  So, we are going to need to take them on, not just in a military way, but also political and economic way in other places around the world.

And I guess the last thing I'll say, Tony, is that one of the things I heard from many of the defense ministers I met with last year -- last -- excuse me, last week -- was that while they could see the forward motion in the military campaign in Iraq and Syria, they were concerned that the reconstruction and stabilization effort not lag behind the military effort.

So, I'd call attention -- your question was about the military effort, but there are other dimensions to this as well.

And -- all of those need to be -- we need to fight along all of those different fronts, foreign fighters, financing, ideology, messaging, homeland -- homeland defense and protection.

So -- so, there are many non-military dimensions to this.  But the military dimensions are quite clear to us, and the steps that we have outlined are the ones that we intend to conduct.

Q:  Territory -- recovering some of the lost territory, is --

SEC. CARTER:  Is one place.  You asked how people can see; that is one way that they can -- that they can see a -- a -- some -- some of the objectives that are clear in a very clear way that we intend to achieve those military objectives.

You want to add anything to that, chairman?

GEN. DUNFORD:  Tony, I think the secretary outlined it.  I think there's probably three things we can quantify to walk people through.

One is territory; we just talked about that.  Two is resources, the other is flow of foreign fighters and freedom of movement.

So, those would be the three areas that I would look to this year, and our campaign is designed, one, to deny the enemy sanctuary, so take back the territory that they currently hold.  That will have an impact on their resources, because many of their resources come from taxing people within the territory that they hold, and also the access to the – they’ve had the oil and other -- and other industries.  So, that's the second -- second piece of it.

And then working with -- you know, there's a 100 and -- I think 22 nations that have foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.  And so, working with those countries to make sure that we -- we cut off the flow of foreign fighters is probably a third area that can be quantified.  The numbers of foreign fighters flowing in can be quantified.

You know, there's kind of a physical -- what you're alluding to is a physical caliphate and then there's a virtual caliphate.

And so, what we're really addressing now is what has to be done to disrupt the physical caliphate and bring defeat to the physical caliphate, which -- which of course, is only half of the -- half of the job.

Good.

STAFF:  Thanks, everybody.

SEC. CARTER:  Thank you all very much.  Appreciate you being here.