Dempsey on Ground Troops: Whatever It Takes

Says 'Ideal' Ground Force Wouldn't Involve Americans

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey refused to back down from last week’s comments on the possibility of US ground troops being involved in the open-ended war on ISIS, insisting today that he will recommend “what it takes” to destroy ISIS, even if that means ground troops.

President Obama has repeatedly ruled out ground troops, but Dempsey insists he was ordered to provide recommendations on the destruction of ISIS, and says he knows that requires a large ground force to make it happen.

Dempsey tried to be a bit conciliatory about the disconnect with the president, insisting that the “ideal” force wouldn’t include Americans, but would rather include Iraqis, Kurds, and Syrian “moderates.”

The general appeared to be expanding expectations for the Syrian rebel factions being trained by the Pentagon, saying the estimates are that they will need 12,000 to 15,000 fighters in eastern Syria. The plan approved by Congress aims to create a force of 5,000 within a year.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.