Among a series of executive orders signed by President Trump over the past week, one of his Saturday orders includes calling for the Pentagon to deliver “a comprehensive strategy and plans for the defeat of ISIS.” Previous reports suggested the Pentagon was already working on this.
If those previous reports are to be believed, the plans are centering heavily on the idea of escalating the war, with more ground troops expected to be deployed, more attack helicopters, and in all likelihood a further loosening of rules of engagement.
While officials were consistently insisting the war was going well under President Obama, Trump is said to want much quicker results in the fight against ISIS, which is almost certain to mean a transition away from the Obama-era tactic of escalations of a few hundred troops at a time, which mostly avoided public debate over the size of the ground force.
During the campaign, Trump suggested he was open to a deployment of 20,000 to 30,000 troops to take out Raqqa, the capita city of ISIS. It is unclear if the Pentagon planning will include anything nearly so dramatic, but putting such a large force inside Syrian territory would be very difficult, especially without the tacit permission of the Syrian government and their allies.