Dempsey: 15,000 Ground Troops Needed To Destroy ISIS
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey says it will take 15,000 ground troops to do the job.
“The answer is yes. There has to be a ground component in the campaign,” Dempsey said, appearing alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“We need 12,000 to 15,000 to reclaim lost territory,” he said, referring to the huge swath ISIS carved out from Iraq and Syria.
ISIS is estimated to have amassed more than 30,000 fighters, including many recruits from Western nations.
The US-led coalition, which also includes five Arab countries joining the air campaign, plans to train Syrian rebels to do the dirty work on the ground, while also relying on Kurdish peshmerga forces and Iraqi tribal fighters.
President Obama has repeatedly insisted US troops won’t play a combat role in the campaign.