HomeNewsArticle Display

'Decisive' air power thwarts ISIL's capabilities, official says

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian speaks to the media in a press briefing at the Pentagon, Sept. 29, 2014, about what airpower can accomplish against a threat like ISIL. He indicated that while airpower has played a significant role in the current fight, a broad coalition will be the cornerstone for achieving mission success. He discussed the wide range of Air Force capability available to combatant commanders and the professionalism of Airmen charged with conducting missions. Harrigian is the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements. (U.S. Air force photo/Staff Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian speaks to the media in a press briefing at the Pentagon, Sept. 29, 2014, about what airpower can accomplish against a threat like ISIL. He indicated that while airpower has played a significant role in the current fight, a broad coalition will be the cornerstone for achieving mission success. He discussed the wide range of Air Force capability available to combatant commanders and the professionalism of Airmen charged with conducting missions. Harrigian is the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements. (U.S. Air force photo/Staff Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian speaks to the media in a press briefing Sept. 29, 2014, at the Pentagon, about decisive impacts airpower can bring to the current fight against ISIL. He indicated a broad coalition effort will continue to be the cornerstone for providing a persistent and lethal threat to ISIL forces. (U.S. Air force photo/Staff Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian speaks to the media in a press briefing Sept. 29, 2014, at the Pentagon, about decisive impacts airpower can bring to the current fight against ISIL. He indicated a broad coalition effort will continue to be the cornerstone for providing a persistent and lethal threat to ISIL forces. (U.S. Air force photo/Staff Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Airpower has stymied Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists, with the Air Force accomplishing 74 percent of the more than 240 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since Aug. 8, a senior Air Force official told reporters at the Pentagon Sept. 29.

Maj. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, the Air Force's assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, said Airmen are working closely with joint and coalition partners to execute current operations as part of the "persistent and sustained" campaign against the terrorist group.

"Airpower's targeted actions are disrupting ISIL's command and control, their logistics and infrastructure, and their freedom of movement," Harrigian said. "We see airpower as one of the fundamental components of the comprehensive strategy."

The general also reported that the Air Force's decisive capabilities have prevented large-scale force massing, have degraded ISIL's command and control capabilities, and will, over time, stanch ISIL's financing, which he acknowledged will require a whole-of-government approach to address.

The Air Force has executed some 50 percent of the airstrikes in Syria thus far, and 70 percent of the more than 3,800 total sorties in Iraq and Syria, Harrigian said. The Air Force, he added, also has accomplished 95 percent of the almost 1,300 tanker sorties essential to persistence and range requirements, as well as 700 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sorties in support of the operation.

Noting his dual role as Air Force operations deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Harrigian explained that the Air Force has worked for years to develop Airmen across the theater, training them both downrange and in garrison to seamlessly integrate into operations and ensure necessary interoperability.

But U.S. airpower alone, the general asserted, will not destroy ISIL.

"We've been working with our coalition partners and sister services for years to develop the full array of airpower capabilities that we're bringing into this fight, leveraging our lessons from both combat and training to execute these current operations," he said. "This broad coalition has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the strategy against ISIL."

The F-22 Raptor fighter jet has been an important part of the effort, the general said, bringing stealth, speed and integrated avionics that facilitate situational awareness for the pilots, planners and joint terminal air controllers.

"Ultimately, ... airpower offers a broad range of capabilities to the combatant commander, and ultimately, the president," Harrigian said. "Beyond airstrikes, we'll continue to provide ISR, the tankers, command and control platforms and humanitarian assistance as required to meet the enduring and ... emerging requirements that will occur over the course of the operation."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Congratulations to Air Force Civil Engineer Tim Sullivan, who was named the 2020 Federal Engineer of the Year! 🎉… https://t.co/tIafy8KqKs
Did you know anxiety and depression are invisible wound conditions that can affect our Airmen? They can manifest in… https://t.co/7TJn1CICbh
Airmen practice joint close air support during exercise Cope North 20 to improve combat readiness, develop integrat… https://t.co/GLpsJAlvCx
RT @inspire_af_: The @usairforce understands the importance of innovation, and @AETCommand is continuing to move towards student-centered l…
RT @AirmanMagazine: These @usairforce U-2 pilots fly at 70,000 ft, where they provide vital reconnaissance for U.S. combatant commanders.…
Spouses, family members, & caregivers are a vital part of the #AirForce family. They take care of us & we must take… https://t.co/ayzETFm5M1
The Air Force Gunsmith Shop recently released a redesigned M4 Carbine that will fit in most ejection seats. This Ai… https://t.co/f4UPJLlPxp
RT @AETCommand: Innovating in your everyday environment doesn't always lend itself to creativity! Check out the Spark Cell space at Altus…
.@USAFCENT Airmen refuel a KC-135 with a Force system in Southwest Asia. This new capability provides more efficien… https://t.co/fA2OARRUqj
RT @ArmedwScience: Civil engineering is a key part of a deployed environment. Listen as this airman explains the civil engineering capabili…
WATCH: @SecAFOfficial joins @SecArmy and @SECNAV for a discussion with @CSIS on the state of the services, defense… https://t.co/Vfk09EMBdP
Congratulations Capt Lockridge. #AimHigh https://t.co/fcJQi1vsFO
.@ABCSharkTank, anyone? The Air Force Spark Tank announced its 2020 selectees. 6 Airmen were selected to present… https://t.co/5aoPxZ2OTF
Capt Jessica Knizel was the first of 10 Air Force Aerospace Nurse Practitioners. To meet the qualifications, Kniz… https://t.co/hu2WXp8i8z
RT @HQ_AFMC: #Civilians: Less than 10 days left to apply for CDE and CSLP! The time is NOW to apply for #professionaldevelopment that will…
Sleep tight. We work nights. A1C Donald Edwards, crew chief, inspects a C-17A Globemaster III at Joint Base Charl… https://t.co/pawAK7TUn7
RT @SecAFOfficial: Appreciate your leadership & time spent with our #Airmen who stand the watch! https://t.co/IAV7nIZCcX
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: A @usairforce HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 56th Rescue Squadron flies over #Aviano AB, Italy, Feb. 12. The 56th in…