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
.@ACC_Commander designates the 16th Air Force as a new information warfare numbered #AirForce at #ASC19. As… https://t.co/LMiMJ3rWNO
RT @AstroHague: Thank you to the Airmen across the globe who make the human exploration of space possible. Wishing the @usairforce a happy…
RT @Hanscom_AFB: “The @usairforce is leading the charge across @DeptofDefense. No one else in #government has as much ... of this software…
RT @PACAF: Commanders from Australia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S. met for the 2019 Logistics and Safet…
To all those who helped establish the long blue line past, present and future, we honor you and we remember with th… https://t.co/teymF7proy
#ASC19: "We’re all in this together trying to make your service to country the best experience on the planet. We w… https://t.co/rdbCDBJr2c
#VCSAF Gen. Stephen Wilson speaks on what makes the #AirForce unique. #ASC19 https://t.co/gStwUZoaQC
RT @AFSpace: @AstroHague takes #aimhigh to the extreme by celebrating the @usairforce's birthday from the @Space_Station! #FrontiersofBlue
RT @VP: Happy 72nd birthday to the @usairforce! On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to the amazing men and women of the Air Force for…
#ASC19: There's a challenge to maintain warfighting capabilities until new bombers and missiles arrive. Hear more f… https://t.co/SWB3VjNod8
#ASC19: Want to know which three acquisition trends #AirForce acquisition experts believe should "go viral?" Click… https://t.co/hsiH3oQXOX
RT @NSAGov: Happy Birthday to the @usairforce! For 72 years you've taught us to aim high. We look forward to continuing to fly, fight, and…
RT @AFGlobalStrike: The Air Force is celebrating 72 years of service, so here is 72 seconds of Global Strike Command! #USAFBday #ThisIs72 h…
Moments like this one between @GenDaveGoldfein and retired Col. Charles McGee remind us of where we've been as we f… https://t.co/LlhJhfdHQb
ICYMI: @ActingSecAF Matthew Donovan announced Sept. 16 at #ASC19 that the B-21 Raider is being produced in Northrop… https://t.co/XTsOnLwrTw
ICYMI: @ActingSecAF Matthew P. Donovan announced on Sept. 16 at #ASC19 that the Air Force’s all-new advanced traine… https://t.co/9MULuV7vFN
RT @USNavy: To be young again... #HappyBirthday, @usairforce! Congrats on 72 years playing a key role in the National Defense Strategy. He…
RT @USArmy: Join us in wishing the @usairforce a #happybirthday! They may have separated from the Army in 1947, but they have been trail br…
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks @EsperDoD for speaking at @AirForceAssoc #ASC19 & chatting with our exceptional #Airmen who are dedicated to sharpe…