OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: ‘Inherent Resolve’: ISIS campaign gets a name

THE TOPLINE: The U.S.-led military mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now has a name: “Operation Inherent Resolve.”

"For us what it means is that we are going to stay resolved and determined to get after this threat," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Wednesday, announcing the name. "We're going to do it in as fulsome a way as we can. And we're going to do it for as long as required." 

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Kirby said the name highlighted the close partnership between coalition nations fighting ISIS.

"There are some 60 now that are involved in this effort in various forms and fashions, but it's very much a multinational, multilateral approach," he added. 

The naming of the U.S.-led military air campaign against ISIS ends months of uncertainty over what to call the operation, which began in August.

Officials said having a name would pave the way for more dedicated staffing and resourcing. The move will also clear the way for troops serving in the mission to receive campaign medals.

 

ALLIES TO HELP TRAIN IRAQIS: The new mission name comes as the Pentagon announced new commitments by coalition allies to help train Iraqi forces. 

“We have 12 advisory teams there now, and yesterday we got a significant commitment of other coalition members to add advisory teams,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said on CNN

Each team consists of about a dozen troops and is slated to train Iraqi forces and Sunni tribes, but experts have warned it will take months to get Iraqi forces ready to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Recent gains by ISIS have added pressure to ramp up the training. In Anbar province, ISIS has seized a military base and killed its chief of police. Military officials have also expressed doubts that troops could keep ISIS from hitting Baghdad.

 

ISIS TOP ISSUE FOR GOP VOTERS: With the elections less than three weeks away, Republicans on the campaign trail have seized on President Obama's struggles against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to hammer vulnerable Democrats.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll on Wednesday found that ISIS is now the top issue for Republican voters in the midterm elections. 

Forty-one percent of Republicans said ISIS was the top issue in deciding their vote, compared to just 18 percent of Democrats.

A majority of Americans, 55 percent, also disapprove of the president's handling of the crisis, a troubling sign for Democrats.

 

NEW WAVE OF AIR STRIKES: The U.S.-led coalition has significantly ramped up its air campaign near the Syrian town of Kobani, which has been besieged by fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Officials said U.S. forces launched 18 airstrikes on Wednesday, bringing the total number of coalition strikes near the town to 110 since Sept. 23.

Defense officials denied the stepped up strikes were because of media pressure to save Kobani, a Kurdish-majority town miles from the Turkish border. Rear Adm. John Kirby said bad weather in Iraq had freed up air assets for bombing missions near Kobani.

Critics of the administration’s strategy have seized on the fight for Kobani, noting that ISIS has continued to threaten the town despite the coalition’s air campaign.

Some Defense officials have said that the airstrikes have thwarted ISIS from taking the town, but Kirby warned that Kobani was still in danger.

"I think it's important for people to understand — Kobani could still fall. It could very well still fall," he said. 

 

HOUSE DEMS WANT TROOPS TO TREAT EBOLA: A group of House Democrats asked President Obama to allow U.S. troops in West Africa to give direct care to Ebola patients.

"We write to urge you to consider building on the current response to the Ebola epidemic by allowing military medical and technical personnel to provide direct care to and to come into contact with patients in West Africa," Reps. Keith Ellison (Minn.), Karen Bass (Calif.), and Barbara Lee (Calif.) said in a letter.

The administration is deploying around 4,000 U.S. troops to help fight Ebola in the affected West African countries. However, they are building treatment centers and training local providers, not directly providing care.

The call comes as the World Health Organization said there could be as many as 10,000 new Ebola cases every week within two months.

The lawmakers raised concerns that there would not be enough trained staff to treat Ebola patients if the U.S. did not play a more active role.

"The commitment of 4,000 military personnel, to assist with standing up Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) and logistical response are essential contributions," they wrote. "However, we have heard from those working in West Africa that there is uncertainty about who will staff the ETUs, who will manage them, and whether their level of experience under these conditions is commensurate with the task."

 

HAGEL WANTS SEQUESTER JUNKED: Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelSwalwell says he will convene a bipartisan 'blended cabinet' if elected president Overnight Energy: John Kerry hits Trump over climate change at hearing | Defends Ocasio-Cortez from GOP attacks | Dems grill EPA chief over auto emissions rollback plan For planet and country: National security's climate moment MORE pressed Congress on Wednesday to reverse looming Pentagon budget cuts, arguing they could endanger the lives of troops as the military faces new challenges.

"Going forward, whether we can keep our soldiers ready in the future will depend on Congress's partnership in providing the resources to fund the training our soldiers need," Hagel said at the Association of the United States Army.

Hagel said while 150,000 soldiers were no longer deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, roughly that same number are stationed around the world, on varied missions, from combating Ebola to training Kurdish and Iraqi forces against ISIS.

"The world is becoming more volatile, less predictable, and in many ways, more threatening. At the same time, our defense budgets are declining," he said.

The Pentagon would face a shortfall of $70 billion over the next five years if lawmakers do not reverse the cuts.

"If Congress does not act, it will return in 2016, stunting and reversing the Army's readiness, just as we've have begun to recover and requiring even more dramatic reductions in force structure," Hagel said.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

— GOP lawmaker pushes for investigation into top Marine’s service record

— White House: 'Shortcomings' in Ebola response

— Russian PM: Obama has a 'mental aberration'

 

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