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Remarks by Secretary Carter at Ecole Militaire in Paris, France

Jan. 21, 2016
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

MODERATOR: Mr. Secretary, while being in Paris for the counter-ISIS meeting of the defense secretaries, you shared yesterday with our Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. You kindly accepted to come this morning to our community to give a talk on the fight against ISIS, usually called Daesh in France. I would like to warmly thank you.

In the auditorium today, you have approximately 500 civilian and military leaders, including an important numbers of members of the Institut Des Hautes Etudes De Defense Nationale; Institute of the International Advanced Defense Studies, of which I'm the director and of the Institut National Des Hautes Etudes De La Securite Et De La Justice; National Institute for the Higher Security and Justice Issues. The members of these two institutes are attended or are still attending courses focusing on defense and security issues.

The leaders in front of you are on the one hand, in their current positions, the decisions makers in the fight against ISIS or they contribute to this fight. Or, on the other hand, they finalize on studies is impertinent to war. Our country was hardest hit by terrorist attacks on the last year, in the last year of 2015, in its very soil, here in Paris. But our determination remains very strong.

France is still in the front line in the fight against ISIS. Therefore, it's within the coalition of course -- therefore, it's an honor and a pleasure to welcome you this morning. We are very much looking forward to listening to you. Mr. Secretary General of De La Frances Securite National, (SPEAKING IN FRENCH).

Mr. Secretary, the floor is yours. Thank you very much again.

(Applause.)

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER:

General, thank you so much for that introduction. Thank you all for being here this morning. Friends, colleagues, allies, partners, thank you. It’s an honor for me to be here with you today, particularly at this extraordinary institution, which has produced countless leaders that have not only strengthened France but also its alliance with the United States. From Lafayette to Pershing, from the Statue of Liberty to the liberation of Paris, we stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, and we are proud, proud, to count you as America’s oldest ally.

Yesterday it was my solemn honor to place a wreath at the Place de La Republique in memory of the victims of the November attack. The savage gunmen who opened fire that day attacked us all.

It was an attack on civilization, an attack on the very freedom you in this room have dedicated your careers to protecting – the freedom of everyday people to dream their dreams, to raise their children, and to live full lives. The determination I see in your eyes today is the same determination I see in the eyes of every man and woman in this magnificent city. It is our determination as well. We must, we can, and we will deliver ISIL a lasting defeat.

Hours after the attack in Paris, Minister Le Drian and I were on the phone driving our military alliance forward. The first thing we agreed was to deliver ISIL a crushing response in the heart of Raqqa. We also agreed right away to intensify our intelligence sharing and operational planning.
That week both of our nations signed a so-called “Special Instruction” to our respective military intelligence organizations, allowing thousands of additional intelligence products to be shared with one another, to improve the targeting of ISIL, and enabling closer planning between us.

The French military has been fortunate to have a steadfast and determined leader like Jean-Yves Le Drian. Over the past three and a half years, the United States and France have committed to one another in new ways to counter common challenges around the world and that simply would not have been possible without Jean-Yves, and I am proud to call him my friend. His incisive observations have played a critical role in the refinement of the coalition military campaign plan to defeat ISIL that I want to share with you today.

Many of you will play an important role in the execution of this plan on land, sea, air, and cyber-space working alongside many coalition partners. We all must have a common campaign plan that the entire coalition understands, and that our enemies cannot survive. The military actions that the United States, France, and our coalition partners have taken in recent months have allowed the campaign to gather momentum, and to apply pressure to ISIL in Iraq and Syria on more fronts than at any other point previously in the campaign. Moreover, this pressure is not only having an effect itself, it’s also generating additional opportunities to further accelerate the campaign. As we continuously adapt and accelerate the campaign, we will intensify the pressure on ISIL, not just in Iraq and Syria, but in other regions where they have emerged, using a variety of tools at our disposal.

It won’t be easy. ISIL is a cancer that’s threatening to spread. And like all cancers, you can’t cure the disease just by cutting out the tumor. You have to eliminate it wherever it has spread, and stop it from coming back. The coalition military campaign plan that unites our efforts accordingly focuses on three military objectives: one, to destroy the ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria by collapsing its two power centers in Mosul and Raqqah, two, to combat the emerging metastases of the ISIL tumor worldwide, and three, to protect our nations from attack.

To accomplish the first of these goals, we are enabling motivated, local forces on the ground to defeat ISIL and to sustain its defeat. We’re doing this by providing, first, a clear military campaign plan and decisive leadership by nations such as the United States and France, and second, the support of a global coalition wielding a suite of capabilities – ranging from air strikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment, mobility and logistics, training, advice, and assistance from those on the ground.

Last week, I described the elements of this military campaign plan firsthand to the troops of the U.S. 101st Airborne – no strangers to French history – who will soon deploy to Iraq to execute a part of this campaign. And now this week it’s my privilege to discuss it also with you, their partners.
Let me map for you, as I mapped for our departing troops, where we are headed this year.

The ISIL parent tumor has two centers – Raqqah in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq. ISIL has used its control of these cities and nearby territories as a power base from which to derive considerable financial resources, manpower, and ideological outreach. They constitute ISIL’s military, political, economic, and ideological centers of gravity.

That’s why our campaign plan’s map has big arrows pointing at both Mosul and Raqqah. We will begin by collapsing ISIL’s control over both of these cities and then engage in elimination operations through other territories ISIL holds in Iraq and Syria.


Last month I visited Iraq to thank U.S. and coalition troops and to meet with Iraqi leaders. As I spoke with them, it became apparent that the additional military steps that we implemented in the fall, in fact beginning well before the Paris attack, are generating significant momentum across the battlefield in Iraq and Syria. It’s clear that our actions to accelerate the campaign are having an effect, and moreover, are creating opportunities to do even more.

Local forces trained by American, French and other troops are taking ground back from the enemy. U.S. and French pilots were the first to take to the skies over Iraq and continue to bomb ISIL relentlessly, degrading its ability to move fighters and materiel by cutting off key transit routes to, and especially between, Raqqah and Mosul.

Our strikes are dismantling ISIL’s war-sustaining finances, targeting its oil production and its industrial base. Together, we will continue these kinds of operations as part of the overall effort to degrade its financing.
Throughout Iraq and Syria we are significantly constraining ISIL’s ability either to defend or attack, and we’re working with our partners to take advantage of every opportunity this presents. For example, we now have a specialized expeditionary targeting force in place that is preparing to work with the Iraqis to begin mounting sudden, long-range raids, going after ISIL’s fighters and commanders, killing or capturing them wherever we find them, along with other key targets.

In Syria, we’re combining the effects of our air campaign with support to local forces to isolate, pressure, and eventually collapse ISIL control over its so-called capital of Raqqah.

In November, a coalition of Syrian Arabs that we helped equip in northern Syria fighting alongside Kurdish and Turkmen forces recaptured important terrain along the Turkey-Syria border. And in just the past few weeks, with our advice, these forces also captured the Tishreen Dam and surrounding villages, cutting off a critical logistics route for ISIL to Raqqah. All these forces build momentum towards Raqqah, and as they do so other local forces can be expected to join the winning side.

To build on these efforts, our special operators are collaborating in ensuring that ISIL leaders and fighters enjoy no safe haven. Special operators, as you well know, bring a unique set of capabilities that make them force multipliers, such as intelligence gathering, targeting, and the ability to identify moderate local forces and provide them with advice and assistance, or to accompany local forces to help make them victorious.
Through even a small number of these highly trained operators, the full might of our coalition’s air power, technology, intelligence, logistics and know-how can be brought to the front end and relentlessly focused on the enemy. And while we do not discuss specifics of these operations, these forces have already established contact with new local forces that share our goals, new lines of communication to local, motivated and capable fighters, and new targets for airstrikes and strikes of all kinds. These operators have helped focus the efforts of the local, capable forces against key ISIL vulnerabilities, including their lines of communication. They’re generating new insights that we turn into new targets, new strikes, and new opportunities.

In short, they’re generating a virtuous cycle of actions. Actions which help identify and marshal the strength of yet more local forces. Action which is leading to more intelligence. Action which is generating new tactical and operational ideas. Action which flushes ISIL out into the open, shrinking its power base, its finances and its space to maneuver. And action that sends an unmistakable message to both ISIL and the moderate Syrian opposition that our coalition will prevail in this fight.

Now ISIL must and will as I said be defeated in Syria and Iraq. The defeat must be lasting, it must stick so that similar extremism does not recur and emerge from the same places after the campaign. For the defeat to be lasting in this way it has to achieved and sustained by local forces that are motivated and capable. After ISIL is defeated these forces must secure and govern the territory by building long term trust within the populations that they liberate. We can and we will enable such local forces, but we cannot entirely substitute for them.

It’s worth noting that it was Iraqi soldiers who took back the city center of Ramadi and are fighting every day to clear the remainder of the city, proving themselves not only motivated but capable. These same Iraqi forces, supported where needed by our coalition, aim to deliver the same results to the people who have been brutalized in every town on the road to the border in Anbar and on the road north to Mosul. These devastated towns and villages need to be secured, they need to be rebuilt, and they need to be governed.

As Ramadi showed, the unmatched capabilities of our coalition can enable and multiply the power and force of our local partners. We’re clearing the battlefield with precision strikes. We’re giving them equipment, and training on how to use it, including, just to give one concrete example, the temporary bridge that helped Iraqi troops cross the Euphrates when ISIL had blown up all the bridges in the town.

We’re giving them training, advice and assistance in modern warfare, including engineering and logistics. And we’re prepared to do more where and when we can have an additional strategic effect.

The training we’re providing will be critical, as the Peshmerga approach Mosul from the north to close with the Iraqi Security Forces and Counterterrorism Service approaching from the south. Reaching and retaking Mosul will not be easy, and it will not be quick. There will be many engagements in between. Logistics will become a greater challenge as the Iraqi Security Forces move farther from Baghdad, and the need for operational support from our coalition will likely grow.

But as our success in Ramadi and north and central Iraq has shown, training, advising, and assisting rather than trying to substitute entirely for local forces is the right strategic approach. Now when we see something that works, we look for ways to do more of it whenever and wherever it can have a strategic effect as we collapse ISIL’s hold on its remaining territory in Iraq.

This campaign is not up to our two nations alone, the United States and France, to accomplish. The lasting defeat of ISIL must be a global undertaking, because it’s a global threat. And any nation, any nation, that cares about the safety of its people or the future of its civilization must know this – the United States and strong partners like France will continue to lead the fight, but there can be no free riders.

That means that as we invest in the acceleration of the campaign, so must every one of our coalition partners and every nation in a position to help. Yesterday, I met with my counterparts from six nations who share a fundamental commitment to accelerating the campaign. We met to discuss a common approach to intensifying our military efforts. There was broad agreement on the objectives of the campaign plan among our ministers, and the need to accelerate our collective efforts. We received a briefing from Admiral Mark Fox, the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, on the wide range of capabilities – both military and non-military – that are needed to prosecute the campaign. We agreed that all must and can do more.

It was a very positive meeting, and it will give every minister the opportunity to discuss with their governments what else they can bring to the table, and how they can better align their efforts with our common goals and strategy. But we also recognize that there are other capabilities that our wider coalition can and must bring to the table as well. We therefore yesterday agreed to call the full coalition, all 26 nations plus Iraq, to meet next month in Brussels for the first ever meeting of defense ministers of the counter-ISIL Coalition to further align our efforts, including the resources needed for the fight ahead.

France is already contributing greatly, as are several other nations. Many other nations can do more. And some are on the wrong track entirely.
I have personally reached out to the ministers of defense in over 40 countries around the world to ask them to contribute to enhancing the fight against ISIL – more special operations forces, more strike and reconnaissance aircraft, weapons and munitions, training assistance, as well as combat support and combat service support.

And very importantly, we also need the full involvement of every government, not just every military. That means greater diplomatic, political, and economic engagement. It means development and reconstruction. It means actions at home and abroad to disrupt, dismantle and degrade ISIL’s capabilities, recruiting and finances.

Now we don’t ask for favors, but neither do we grant favors. We recognize that nations follow their own best interests, as we follow ours. That means that they themselves must accelerate their efforts disrupting the networks that enable the flow of foreign fighters and material across their lands.

That means joining and taking advantage of the opportunity to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria, before it becomes a more serious threat to their public. And for Muslim-majority nations in particular, that means stepping forward and debunking ISIL’s false claims to religious or ideological excuses for brutality.

When the full coalition meets next month, every nation must come prepared to discuss further contributions to the fight. And I will not hesitate to engage and challenge current and prospective members of the coalition as we go forward.

There is also an opportunity for those nations who have been on the wrong side of this fight so far – Russia and Iran. They can make a difference too by stopping their unending support for Bashar Assad – a chief instigator of radicalism and terrorism in Syria – and instead support a timely political transition ending that disastrous civil war.

Next, let me describe the fight outside of Iraq and Syria. As we work to destroy the parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, we must also recognize that ISIL is metastasizing in areas such as North Africa, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
The threat posed by ISIL, and groups like it, is continually evolving, changing focus and shifting location. France has been a leader in this area.

I know many of you have served side by side with American troops in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere. France has taken the fight to terrorists in Mali and other nations with our support since 2013, and you’ve been working throughout the arc of instability from Syria to the Sahel for many years. You know the dangers of violent extremism, and you’ve seen how quickly it can spread. And you know the importance of a flexible and nimble response with a broad reach in responding to these dangers.

Now in order to enhance that nimble and flexible response, the United States for our part is organizing a new way to leverage the security infrastructure we’ve already established in Afghanistan, the Middle East, East Africa, and Southern Europe into a network to counter transnational and transregional threats like ISIL.

From the U.S. and coalition troops I visited in Morón, Spain in October, to those I visited last month in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, those regional nodes provide forward presence to respond to a range of crises, terrorist and other kinds. They enable our crisis response operations, counter-terror operations, and strikes on high-value targets, and they help us act decisively to prevent ISIL affiliates from becoming as great of a threat as the parent tumor itself.

This counterterrorism network is already giving us the opportunity and capability to react swiftly to incidents and threats wherever they occur, and it maximizes our opportunities to eliminate targets and leadership. An example of this network in action was our November 13th strike on Abu Nabil, where assets from several locations in the network converged to successfully kill this ISIL leader in Libya.

Libya will continue to be a challenge in the year to come, illustrating the new reality where small organizations wield undeserved power in chaotic places. As we discussed yesterday, a number of European nations including Italy have taken the lead to think through how Europe can support a new government in Libya, and the United States is prepared to support that effort.

Now as we destroy the parent tumor and disrupt its metastases, we are constantly mindful that the fundamental mission of our militaries – yours, as well as ours – is protecting our people at home. In addition to operations overseas, that means playing a supporting, but very strong and active role to play within our borders, reinforcing law enforcement, homeland security, cyber defense, intelligence and other aspects of the government response to terrorism.

Beyond our shores we’re using all appropriate means at our disposal to disrupt potential attacks on our homelands before they can occur. And to hold accountable those who would do us harm. After the Paris attack in November, President Obama vowed that we would help hunt down the perpetrators. And on December 24th, our airstrikes killed Charaffe al Mouadan, a Syrian-based ISIL member with a direct link to the Paris attack cell. Two days later, another ISIL leader with ties to the Paris attack, Abdul Kader Hakim, was killed. Our government promised to pursue Jihadi John, who plotted against British, American and other people, as our vice president said “to the gates of hell”. And now he is dead. We’ve made it clear that those who threaten or incite harm to our people and our friends, wherever they are, will surely come to feel the long arm and the hard fist of justice.

Our campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, at its source and wherever it rears its head, is far from over, but the outcome is certain. There will be extraordinary challenges ahead, and I emphasized yesterday and will emphasize again in Brussels in a few weeks’ time, we must all do more. But our campaign will continue to adapt and to build on our success, as ISIL’s territory decreases, its resources dwindle, and local, capable forces gain the capacity to not only win on the field of battle, but to lay the foundation for lasting security in the region, and a more secure future for the world.

Thank you once again for inviting me to address this prestigious audience, and for the strength of our oldest ally. Vive la France!

(Applause.)

MODERATOR: So, Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for convening the -- (inaudible) -- message about the alliance --

(AUDIO GAP)

SEC. CARTER: -- the rest from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, actually has found a continuous set of important missions for us all thereafter in the Balkans, in Afghanistan.

So, it has been a successful alliance in dealing with post-Cold War challenges, and it will be successful also as a contributor to the two major challenges that face European security today.

One is on the southern flank of NATO, where security is imperiled not only by ISIL, but the security problem associated with the great number of refugees flooding in from broken places like Syria and Iraq, but also other countries in Northern Africa -- Libya and so on.

And so, there's a southern front of NATO activity that we -- in our alliance discussions, talk about our collective response to.

We also have an obligation to protect NATO territory, that's the fundamental commitment of NATO. And sadly, since we saw what happened in Crimea, and elsewhere in Eastern Ukraine, there is, after a quarter century of respite, a new challenge to NATO from the east.

Now, that is something that is unfortunate, I wish wasn't the case, but it is. And so, we need to stand strong there, too, and defend allied territory and protect countries and help them protect themselves from the kind of insidious underlining that we saw in Crimea -- that was downright annexation, unheard of since the second World War. And also, the underlining that we see in Eastern Ukraine.

So, just to basically answer your question, NATO has plenty of challenges ahead. And as we discuss them in NATO, we talk about the southern set of issues and the eastern set of issues. And sadly, both of those are present, and in both cases, the solidarity of NATO as an alliance is extremely important.

MODERATOR: Thank you. A lot of work ahead.

So, now have slightly less than half an hour for discussions, Q&A sessions. So, please raise your hands, please. Microphone, please.

Q: Mr. Secretary of Defense, I thank you for being here.

Assuming the success of the coalition in the fight against terrorism in Syria and that region, which probable solution does the United States favor?

Would it be a stabilization of Bashar al-Assad? Would it be –institution of new state -- (inaudible)?

Thank you.

SEC. CARTER: Well, our foreign ministers are pursuing exactly those discussions right now. And I'm not going to try to get in the middle of their conversations.

But I can tell you from a security point of view what's important is that the civil war in Syria come to an end, and that the combination of the state structures of the Syrian state -- (inaudible) -- the person of Bashar Assad, survive and unite with those aspects of the moderate opposition to constitute a new and decent government of Syria.

That's the vision we have before us. It cannot include the person of Bashar Assad, but neither should anyone welcome the entire collapse of the Syrian state --

(AUDIO GAP)

SEC. CARTER: -- the ministers, but that's the vision.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

Are there other questions? Please.

Q: (inaudible)

(AUDIO GAP)

SEC. CARTER: (inaudible) -- we do not coordinate our activities with Russia for the very simple reason that Russia has embarked on a strategy for their involvement in Syria that is strategically mistaken and backfiring. It's mistaken -- (inaudible). They said they were going -- (inaudible) -- to fight ISIL. That's not what they did and not what they're doing. (inaudible) -- supporting regime forces against opposition forces.

(AUDIO GAP)

SEC. CARTER: Our hope was that instead, Russia would fight ISIL and join the activities of the coalition of all of the other countries that are combating ISIL, and promote the political transition I just discussed in Syria. That's not what they're doing.

And therefore, we can't align ourselves with a tragically mistaken strategy. We do de-conflict more narrowly our military activities from their military. We have no desire to mistakenly encounter Russian forces. It's not our intention. It's not the Russians' intention either. We have a very good and open channel of military defense communication aimed at de-confliction.

But unfortunately, right now a broader strategic cooperation is not possible because they're headed in the wrong direction. I hope that they can be brought to head in the right direction, in which case of course we can work with them. And that would be a welcome development, but it depends on them changing a mistaken strategy.

With respect to Turkey, Turkey is, to get back to the NATO question, a member of the NATO alliance and therefore we have collectively obligations towards Turkey and towards its self-defense. Turkey is a front-line state. It borders both Iraq and Syria. And it therefore occupies a key position, and therefore if it is -- it is in the coalition already; it is hosting aircraft from our country and other countries and making other contributions.

I do believe that Turkey can do more and therefore the kind of campaign plan that I was discussing with the other ministers yesterday, and the capabilities that will be required to meet that campaign, very -- would very, very much benefit from a stronger effort by Turkey.

Very importantly, one very important item would be greater control over their border. The Turkish border has been one place where foreign fighters have gone back and forth. Logistics and supply of ISIL has been furnished. This is a long border. It's a difficult border. But I would like to see the Turks do more, and we would be prepared to help them.

So just like I'm asking everybody else in the coalition to step up and do more, just as America under President Obama's guidance to us in the U.S. military are doing more, we would like to see Turkey do more also.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

More questions, please.

QUESTION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): (inaudible) it's about cooperation between Italian services, French and American intelligence services -- (inaudible) -- ISIL.

SEC. CARTER: Thank you.

My French used to be really good. (Laughter.)

It's still pretty good, but -- so I usually understand very well. I'm too shy to try to speak with you, and also I might make a tragic mistake.

So, but anyway, the question was about intelligence services. And I mentioned in my remarks, the special instruction. And that is something of great significance. The United States has great sources of intelligence and insight and knowledge, but so also do French authorities because of the long and strong global role that France plays -- your intelligence and your perspectives.

So, it makes perfect sense for us to share this information in a trusted way. And we do trust each other.

And so what we were trying to do with the special instruction is eliminate procedures that were built up over the years that restricted us each from sharing information of military significance with the other.

For us, I can speak about what the special instruction does. First, I have given instruction to all my military commanders and military intelligence organizations. In fact, I brought my intelligence chief over here with me to Paris in the military chain, to makes sure that we are sharing -- for example, all the targeting data that goes into the formulation of airstrikes with French forces. So, they are part of the process of selecting, identifying and formulating airstrikes.

We work with you in other ways on the ground that I can't really discuss here, but that is very close as well. Likewise, the director of national intelligence for the United States, who sits atop the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the pictures people, the -- and the other intelligence agencies, he, too, has given instructions in the intelligence chain to share with France.

And I had the opportunity to be in Tampa, Florida, where our Central Command is headquartered, last week. And I met with -- or had a chance to talk with the French liaison officer to CENTCOM. And I asked him, are you seeing the difference? And he said he was, that it was improving.

I talked to Minister Le Drian yesterday, also. So I think there's more that we can do, and there's some habits of mine that build up over time and have to be pushed down. But, it has never been better. And for us, it's a benefit, because we benefit from French insight and wisdom.

And for France, it's a benefit, because it benefits from our own insight and wisdom and on the information that we share. So, it's a clear consequence of being at war together. And I'm very proud of what our people have done, but I'm very grateful to my French counterparts for reaching out towards us, too. It's essential.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We're running out of time. Maybe we'll have one last question for -- behind, I see.

Q: (SPEAKING FRENCH).

Sir, you mentioned that we have to use all the available tools we have to protect our territory. And we are facing right now, in France, a radicalization phenomenon through the Internet.

And my question is, do you also have any -- this kind of phenomenon? And if that is the case, what other measures you have taken -- with the help of the Internet providers to fight this phenomenon?

Thank you very much.

SEC. CARTER: Very good question. Thank you for that. Yes, sadly we do have the same phenomenon. Namely, the Internet used either to give encouragement or even instruction to people who have already been radicalized, or to radicalize some of these poor lost souls who sit in front of a screen and fantasize about a life as a jihadi.

And there are a number of things we have to do to combat that. I mean fundamentally, at the human level, there's a lot that we need to better understand and do about extremism in general. Islamist extremism is a particular flavor of our era, that as I said in my comments, really can be most effectively combated by religious leaders themselves.

As is always the case with religious extremism, it takes people who are part of the mainstream religion to counter the arguments of religious extremists. But, we also have to protect ourselves. And that means -- to my mind -- and we actually discussed this yesterday, three things.

First of all, we have to eliminate their ability to exploit the Internet, which is supposed to be a tool of civilization, of human communication, human understanding, human commerce, and not be used as an instrument for evil.

That is a difficult thing to do, because all of us depend upon the Internet. And it's a difficult -- you asked about the involvement of industry. We do reach out to industry so that they can make reasonable accommodations for security. They want to do that.

Industry leaders I talked to are like you and me. They want to make sure that our people are protected. At the same, they have to take into account other things: their business interests, we're all interested in the freedom of the Internet. And so, it's complicated. But I think there's a lot we can do there.

And I, myself, have discussions with our technology leaders, so that we can find practical ways that work for both sides and increase protection.

Next, I should say that we, ourselves, need to get better at communicating our own campaign and our own successes, if I may say so. Because, as I indicated, we're having some success.

We are going to have more in the future. I would like to have even more. But democracies are slow. And they only tell the truth. And a message-driven Internet world, that puts you at a structural disadvantage compared to people who are nimble, agile and lie. So -- but we ought to try to do better.

And finally, we need to attack these individuals who are radicalizing, and their ability to communicate. I mentioned so-called Jihadi John, who was sitting in Raqqa on the Internet, targeting Americans. I can't tolerate that. I can't tolerate that, so I need to get in and destroy him or his ability to communicate.

That's why the elimination of ISIL in Raqqa and Mosul is so important. That's where they sit at the keyboard, number one. And number two, that's what keeps the fantasy of a caliphate alive, is that this city of Raqqa is the capital.

Well, that city is not going to be in their hands, and that'll take away the whole idea that this is something successful. And I hope that those who are not yet radicalized but only confused will find something else to fulfill them than a sort of deranged ideology and violence.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, for your clear answers. Thank you very much for being here with us. And good luck for your determination for your fight.

SEC. CARTER: Thank you. Our fight.

(Applause.)

Thank you all very much. Thank you.