Defense secretary updates Congress on U.S. military efforts against ISIL

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The international coalition against ISIL has been in full force recently, while the U.S. has sent special-operations units to Syria.

"The attacks in Paris and San Bernardino were an assault on the civilization that we defend,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday to update the senators on current strategy.

Britain and Germany are the latest to join the fight against ISIL, just weeks after Paris was involved in one of the deadliest attacks to date and after the U.S. was shaken by an attack in San Bernardino, California, last week. President Obama has been calling for intense strikes on ISIL after the attacks.

“ISIL requires, and it will receive, a lasting defeat,” Carter said in his speech. “The president has directed us to intensify and adapt the military campaign – I’m sorry, had directed us – to intensify the military campaign before the Paris attacks. The necessity of accelerating our efforts, as we’re doing, has only been made more plain by the recent attacks. We are urging others in the region and around the world to do the same because those attacks further highlighted the stakes that not just the United States, but the world has in this fight.”

Carter said the counter-attacks in Iraq and Syria against ISIL are important, but that steps must be taken to keep the U.S. safer. Carter has called for the nation to use all of its weaponry against ISIL, including “diplomatic, military, law enforcement, homeland security, intelligence, economic and informational.”

“To build on that, President Obama, on my and (Joint Chiefs) Chairman (Joseph) Dunford’s advice, ordered U.S. special-operations forces to go into Syria to support the fight against ISIL,” Carter said.

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