Combating the ISIS Threat

Ret. Col. Steve Ganyard and Ret. Vice Admiral Robert Harward on U.S. strategy against ISIS.
4:53 | 08/31/14

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Transcript for Combating the ISIS Threat
against Isis. Alex Marquardt is tracking it all. From the region this morning. Good morning, Alex. Reporter: Good morning, Martha. That's rig. Just a short time ago, Iraq's military said it had broken through a more than two-month siege by Isis around a town where the united nations had warned of a possible massacre. The town of amerly is home to more than 15,000 of a Turkish minority. Surround by the radical Sunni militants of Isis, who had cut off their food and water. The Iraqi military had been trying to evacuate the desperate residents. Helped this weekend by U.S. Allies. Aid was dropped on the town as well. Despite the setback, Isis still controls a huge territory in Syria and Iraq. They've proven they're a growing, sophisticated, wealthy fighting force, many of the top commanders who were once in the army of saddam hussein. Let's talk to our experts. Colonel Steve began ganyardnd Robert Harward. I want to start with you, Steve. We talk about the zealotry of Isis. One-third of the leadership are former saddam army members. What do you have here? Is that why it's so dangerous? It looks very much like white infantry. They train, organize, and equip much like a regular, traditional military. Al Qaeda is focused on the far threat. Western targets. Isis is thinking about creating a caliphate. To do that, you need a conventional military. Ironically, that plays right into our hands. Our strengths are in surveillance, air power, hitting precise targets. So admiral Harward, you have done a lot of this in your career. You've been in Iraq and Afghanistan. You were the first special forces into Afghanistan. How do you fight this army, let's say for now, in Iraq? Well, the first thing you do is go back and republish those relationships we established over ten years. We have deep ties throughout the organization and with the people of Iraq. We'll go back with those guys who are on the ground fighting, establishing those places. Those providing leadership, how do we mentor them, assess what they need? We have been doing that for eight, ten years. No, remember we left. We left. So you have to start over again. Well, you don't start over. You get back in there, you re-establish the ties. Assess what they need. Share intelligence. Provide capabilities. Do you need special forces? Sure. Just exactly like you did in Afghanistan? Yes. Special forces, indigenous personnel and air power? It will take all the capacity that we can. Intelligence, political mentoring to help the new prime minister succeed. Operational. Guys on the ground fighting. What can we give them to help them do their jobs. Let's talk about Syria. What do you do there? We don't have indigenous forces in Syria. Just air power? Does that work? It could work. If we look at Iraq. Just step back to Iraq. You think about what the admiral did in Afghanistan. Using indigenous forces on the ground, special operations, air controllers, U.S. Air power. That model could work in Iraq to push Isis back out. In Syria, the president made it clear he has no intention of working with Mr. Assad. The free Syrian army is not reliable. We would probably have to do something more like the early part of desert storm. Go in, pick targets, slowly get to Isis on the ground. Not quite as effective but air power has a real role to play in both conflicts. Admiral Harward, you have heard people say, we have to get in there fast. We have to go. We have heard people on the hill say, we have to get into Syria quickly. The president is taking his time. Does it matter that we're going slowly now? Militarily? You want to be smart, first and foremost. Are we tied with the right folks? Getting them what they need? We want to be deliberate. It's ironic to think of Syria like the Fattah. The enemy is using that as a safe haven. Where they know they're safe somewhere and harder for us to get there. We have learned a lot. In dealing with safe havens the last ten years. We'll get them. But you want to be smart in how you go into those areas. Best case in Syria, Steve? Best case is we go in with a coalition. That will are other countries that need to play. This is not just the u.s.'s problem. Thank you for your expert analysis. Coming up, more of our in-depth coverage of the Isis threat. The jihadist army's surprising

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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