Making the Case Against ISIS

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee to make the case for training and arming Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS.
31:07 | 09/16/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Making the Case Against ISIS
Yeah. Bill -- watching anti war protestors storm into a hearing where secretary of defense Chuck Hagel is making the case for president Obama's strategy against crisis. Hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York as congress prepares to debate president Obama's request to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against ices. Secretary of defense Chuck Hagel and general Martin Dempsey have to make the case to the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning and that hearing. Is under way let's listen lives. Chairman Dempsey and I very much appreciate the opportunity this morning. To discuss president's strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat -- As you no. You'll note today. President Obama -- in Atlanta. Meeting with CDC officials regarding the of people look crisis. And then world travel tonight to Tampa. To receive a briefing from the commander. US Central Command general Austin. On operational plans to implement his -- strategy. I'll join the president tomorrow in Tampa for that briefing. The Defense Department civilian and military leaders are in complete agreement. That the United States and our allies and partners must take action. Against -- At the president's strategy is the right approach. However. As President Obama has repeatedly made clear. American military power along. Cannot will not eradicate the threats posed by -- sold to the United States our allies and our friends and partners in the region. Iraq's continued political progress. Toward a more inclusive and represented -- government. In its programs of reform and reconciliation. Will be critical to achieve the progress required. We believe that new Iraqi minister prime minister a body is committed to bringing all Iraqis together against -- To support him in the Iraqi People in their fight. The coalition will need to use all its instruments of power we intend to use all of those instruments of power military. Law enforcement. Economic diplomatic and intelligence. In -- nation with all the countries in the region. This succeed this strategy will also require a strong partnership. Between our executive branch -- our congress. The president has made it a priority. To consult with congressional leadership on the -- challenge. As have Vice President Biden secretary -- and many senior members of the administration. I've appreciated the opportunities I've had to discuss the president's strategy was. Many members of this committee and other members of the senate house of the last couple weeks. We will continue to consult closely with congress. As his campaign moves full. I -- poses a real threat to all countries in the Middle East our European allies into America. In the last few months the world -- seen icicles barbarity. Up close. As its fighters advanced across western and Northern Iraq. And slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians including Sunni and Shia Muslims in Kurdish Iraqis in religious minorities. I -- murder of two US journalists. -- outraged the American people and exposed to the world. The depravity of -- ideology and tactics. Over the weekend we saw -- murder of a British citizen. I -- now controls of vast swath of eastern Syria in western and northern rock. Including towns and cities in all these years -- -- gained strength by exploiting the civil war in Syria. And sectarian strife in Iraq. And it is seize territory across both countries and acquired significant resources in advanced weapons. Beisel is employed a violent combination of terrorist insurgency and conventional military tactics. -- -- has been. Very -- At developing technology and social media. To increase its global profile and attract tens of thousands of fighters. Its goal is to become the new vanguard of -- global extremist movement. And establish an extremist Islamic cal state across the Middle East. It considers itself the rightful -- -- of Osama bin Laden's legacy. Why so clearly poses an immediate threat to American citizens in Iraq and our interest in the Middle East. We also know that thousands of foreign fighters including Europeans. In more than 100 Americans have travel this year. With passports that give them relative freedom of movement. These fighters can exploit icicles safe haven to plan coordinate and carry out attacks against United States and Europe. Although the intelligence community has not yet detected specific plotting against the US home. I -- has global aspirations. And as President Obama has made clear. Ice those leaders -- threaten America. In our allies if left unchecked ice will directly threaten our homeland and our allies. In his address to the nation last week President Obama announced -- the United States leader broad multi national coalition to roll back. The -- for a more than forty nations have already expressed their willingness to participate in this effort. And more than thirty nations have indicated their readiness. To offer military support. President Obama Vice President Biden secretary Kerry and -- And others have been working -- will continue to work to unite and expand his coalition. At the NATO summit -- secretary Carrie and I convened a meeting of key partners in the coalition. I then went to -- in Turkey the georgians made clear that they want to help. Turkey by virtue of its geography and its common interest in destroying -- -- which is holding 46 Turkish diplomats hostages. Will play an important role in important role in this effort. Turkey during our meeting in Wales and secretary Kerry and I continue to discuss specific contributions. Turkey will make. Secretary -- convene a meeting in Jeddah last week. With the foreign ministers from the six gulf corporation counsel's. Nations. Egypt Iraq Jordan and Lebanon. -- all signed to communicate. To do their share. The comprehensive fight against I sold including joining in the many aspects of a coordinated military campaign against -- Also last week 22 nations of the Arab -- Adopted a resolution at their summit in Cairo calling for comprehensive measures to combat ice. And yesterday in Paris. French president or a -- who traveled through Baghdad last week it. Hosted a conference attended by UN Security Council permanent members European and Arab leaders. And represented is the EU Arab League and United Nations. They all pledge to help Iraq in the fight against -- including through military assist us. He allies such as United Kingdom France Australia. Are already contributing military support. And other partners have begun to make specific offers. At next week's UN general assembly. We expect that additional nations. Will begin making commitments across the spectrum of capabilities building. On the strong chapter seven UN Security Council resolution. Adopted last month. Calling on all member states to take measures to counter -- -- and suppress the floor the flow of foreign fighters. To us. Also next week President Obama will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council to further mobilize the international community. As you all know. Former International Security Assistance Force commander and -- acting cent com commander general John Allen. Has been designated to serve as special presidential envoy for the global coalition to -- -- President Obama is meeting with general Allen this morning. General while on -- work any civilian diplomatic capacity to coordinate. Build and sustain the coalition. Drawing on his extensive experience in the region. He will be the administration's point man to coordinate coalition contributions and to build support. Within the region. He will work closely -- general Austin. To ensure that coalition efforts are aligned across all elements of our strategy. In his address to the nation the president outlined the four elements of this strategy. To degrade and ultimately defeat -- Let me now describe how we are implementing. This whole of government approach first. In close coordination with the new Iraqi Government we are broadening our air campaign to conduct. Systematic airstrikes. Against iso targets. Protect Americans threaten reprisals advances. And to prevent humanitarian catastrophe. US military has already conducted more than 160. Successful air strikes which have killed -- -- fighters destroyed weapons and equipment. And enabled Iraqi and Kurdish forces to get back on the offenses and secure key territory. In critical infrastructure. Including the Mosul and a -- stance. These actions have disrupted I sold tactically. And have helped buy time for the Iraqi Government began forming an inclusive and broad based governing coalition led by the new prime minister. That was one of president Obama's essential preconditions. For taking further action against -- Because the Iraqi People Iraqi People must be united. In their opposition against I -- in order to defeat. This will require a united. An inclusive government this is ultimately -- -- The new broader air campaign will include strikes against all -- targets and enable the Iraqi Security Forces including the Kurdish forces. We continued to stay on the offensive and recaptured territory from eyesore and hold. Because I still operates freely. Across the Iraqi Syrian border. And maintains a safe haven in Syria. Our actions will not be restrained -- a broader by a border. In name only as the president said last week if you threaten America you'll find no safe haven. The president of the United States as the constitutional. And the statutory authority to use military force against isolate Syria as well Iraq. And sent -- -- refining and finalizing those plans which general Austin will brief to the president tomorrow in Tampa. This plan includes targeted actions against -- safe havens in Syria. Including its command and control logistics capabilities and infrastructure. General Dempsey and I have both reviewed and approved -- -- plan. The second element of the strategy is to increase our support for forces fighting -- on the grounds. Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the moderate Syrian opposition. To support Iraqi and Kurdish forces. President announced last week that he would deploy an additional 475. American troops to Iraq. Part of that number includes approximately. 150. Advisors and support personnel. -- supplement. Forces already in Iraq conducting assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces. This assessment mission is now transitioning. To an advise and assist mission. With more than fifteen teams embedding with Iraqi Security Forces at the headquarters level provides strategic and operational advice and assistance. The rest of the additional 475. Troops include 125. Personnel to support intelligence. Surveillance. And reconnaissance missions. -- -- And 200 personnel to increase headquarters elements in both Baghdad and -- -- Helping us better coordinate military activities across Iraq. But -- time all these forces arrive there will be approximately 16100. US personnel in Iraq responding to the actual threat. But as the president said last week. American forces will not have a combat -- mission. Instead these advisors are supporting Iraqi and Kurdish forces. And supporting the government's plan to stand up Iraqi National Guard units to help Sunni communities defeat -- The best -- -- to -- Our local forces and the people of the area. And as you know in June the president asked congress for -- is necessary authority. We're DOD to train and equip martyr Syrian opposition forces. In 500 million dollars to fund this program. We have now secured support from Saudi Arabia to host the training program for that mission. And Saudi Arabia has offered financial and other support as well. The 500 million requests the president made in June -- this train and equip program. Reflect -- -- testament of the cost. To train equip and resupply. More than 5000 opposition forces over one year. The package of assistance that we initially provide. Would consist of small arms. Vehicles. And basic equipment like communications. As well as tactical and strategic -- As these forces prove their effectiveness on the battlefield. We would be prepared to provide increasingly sophisticated types of assistance. To the most trusted commanders -- capable forces. Because DOD does not currently have the authority. To conduct -- train and equip mission the administration has asked congress to provide the authority in the continuing resolution. It is currently. Now considered. It rigorous vetting process will be critical to success of this program. DOD will work closely with the State Department. The intelligence community and our partners in the region to screen and -- the forces we train and equip. We will monitor them closely to ensure that weapons not fall into the hands of radical elements of the opposition. -- the Syrian regime or other extremist groups. There'll always be risk there'll always be risks. -- a program I'm program like this. But we believe that risk is justified. By the imperative of destroying -- And the necessity of having capable partners on the ground in Syria. As we pursue this program the United States will continue to press for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. Resulting in the end of the Asad regime. Aside has lost all legitimacy to -- And has created the conditions. That allowed Beisel. -- other terrorist groups to gain ground and terrorize and slaughter the Syrian population. United States will not coordinate or cooperate with the aside regime. We will also continue to counter aside through diplomatic and economic pressure. The third element of the president's strategy is an all inclusive approach to preventing attacks from -- against the homelands of the United States and our allies. In concert with our international partners the United States will draw on intelligence law enforcement diplomatic and economic tools. To cut off I source funding. Improve our intelligence. Strengthen homeland defense. And stem the flow of foreign fighters in and out of the region. The department of justice and Department of Homeland Security have launched an initiative to partner with local communities to counter extremist recruiting. And the department of Treasury's office of terrorism and financial intelligence. Is working to disrupt officials financing. And expose their activities. The final element present strategy is to continue providing humanitarian assistance. To innocent civilians displaced. Or threatened. -- Alongside the government of Iraq. United Kingdom Canada Australia and France. US troops have already delivered lifesaving aid to thousands of threaten Iraqi civilians on mount -- germ in the Iraqi town of am. It totally US military conducted 32. Airdrops of food and supplies. Providing over. 8181000. Pounds -- -- including nearly 50000 gallons of water nearly 122000. Meals ready to eat. In these operations. In addition to this assistance last week the State Department announced an additional 48 million in aid for civilian organizations. To meet the urgent needs of Iraqis displaced by -- Our total humanitarian assistance to displaced Iraqis is now more than 186. Million dollars. For fiscal year -- fourteen. United States is also the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance for the millions of Syrians. Affected. By the civil war. Last week secretary Kerry announced an additional 500 million in humanitarian assistance. -- to start of the Syrian conflict the United States is now committed almost three billion dollars in humanitarian assistance to those affected by the civil war. All four elements of this strategy. Require a significant commitment of resources on the part of the United States and our coalition partners. Mr. chairman I think everyone on this committee understands fully this will not be an easy. Or a brief effort it is complicated. We're war when I saw as we are we -- cut. But destroying -- will require more than military efforts along. It will require political progress in the region. And effective partners on the ground in Iraq and -- -- the congress and the administration work together. We know this effort will take time. The president has outlined a clear. Comprehensive. And workable strategy to achieve our goals. And protect our -- As chairman. Senator -- -- thank you for your continued support and out of this committee and your partnership. Bank. Thank you wouldn't -- secretary -- Thank you would you please -- would you please leave their room not we're asking you nicely. -- -- -- -- Please leave the room. Thank you very much. -- The north. You and ask all of you to. Avoid these kind of -- they're not doing anybody any good including hearing what this testimony is. And they're not doing you and whatever your causes any good either. Thank you very much would you please. Asking you nicely -- please leave the room. Again -- lieutenant colonel. Bring you very much. -- -- people like -- murder. And. Thank you chairman and ranking member and house members of the committee I do appreciate the opportunity to appear before -- morning. Secretary hagel has described in detail the elements of our strategy against -- The role of the united states military is taking is in my judgment appropriate. This is an Iraq first strategy. Not Iraq only -- Job one is empowering the Iraqi ground forces to go on the offensive which there are already beginning to demonstrate. This requires a partnership -- -- credible Iraqi Government which is also showing positive signs of becoming inclusive of all of its population. Within this partnership our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and to take actions consistent with offensive. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning -- -- for enabler and logistic support and coordinate our coalition activities. If we reached a point where I believe our advisors -- company Iraq troops on attacks against specific -- -- targets I'll recommend that to the president. As long as -- enjoys a safe haven in Syria it will remain a formidable force and a threat. So while this work in Iraq is taking place we will simultaneously. Pressure -- -- and Syria. With coalition partners and contributions to a we will begin building a force of vetted trained moderate Syrians to take on -- so ends here. We will work to ensure that they have a Syrian chain of command and report to a moderate political authority. This force will work initially at the local and community level and help pull together Syrians who have most felt the harsh hand -- this so. In conjunction with that long term effort we will be prepared to strike -- targets in Syria that degrade us those capabilities. This won't look like a shock and awe campaign because that's simply not how -- -- was organized but it will be a persistent and sustainable campaign. I want to emphasize that our military actions must be part of -- whole of government effort that works to disrupt additional financing. Interdict the movement of foreign fighters across borders and undermine the initial message. Given a coalition of capable willing regional international partners I believe we can destroy -- -- Iraq. Restore the year ran correction the Iraq Syria border. And disrupt -- so in Syria. If so will ultimately be defeated when their cloak of religious legitimacy is stripped away and the population on which they have imposed themselves reject them. Our actions are intended to move in that direction. -- sure requires sustained effort over an extended period of time it's a generational problem. And we should expect that our enemies will adapt their tactics as we adjust our approach. As the situation in Middle East evolves and continues to demand our attention were also balancing other challenges in other regions -- -- being the most recent. Along with reassuring our European allies against Russian aggression and continuing our mission in Afghanistan. But our young men and women aren't in uniform are doing so much more they conduct hundreds of exercises activities in engagements every day. Actions that deter conflict and reassure allies around -- world. They are performing magnificently. But -- -- I am growing increasingly uncomfortable that the will to provide means there's not match -- will to pursue ends. The secretary and -- during what we can inside the department to bridge that gap but will need your help. If we do not depart from our present path over time I will have fewer military options to offered to the secretary and to the president. And that's not a position in which I want to find myself thank you. Thank you very much count them -- we're gonna have. -- now we want to bring in ABC's Louis Martinez live at the Pentagon Little -- let's break this down we heard from defense. Secretary Chuck Hagel and just heard from Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Dempsey what are the key points from president Obama's plans against crisis that Cagle laid out. -- from -- heard at four point strategy of the broader air campaign training these. And equipping these moderate. Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia continuing humanitarian flow and preventing crisis from becoming a threat to the homeland. That's the four point strategy that secretary -- laid out. He said that this air campaign on what -- with this air campaign they're gonna lift -- restrictions and that they will hit any crisis target. Inside Iraq and that they're gonna -- at the same. Inside Iraq the warning from both of these officials that this is going to be -- an extended effort. And very blunt language from. Mr. chairman dancing there. He is known for his candor and his brief statements and that is exactly what he laid out there today. He said this is not going to be a -- it -- -- shot cannot campaign. Likely -- with the start of the war in Iraq back in 2003. This is going to be an extended air campaign. When you hit targets as they pop up and interestingly -- -- we've heard -- of blind no combat boots on the ground. Inside Iraq. He explained that these advisors that are going to be embedded with. Iraqi forces at the headquarters level making sure that those operations. Work well. He says that he will not hesitate to recommend to the president. That if. That need arises for American troops to move to the front lines. Two to be side by side with Iraqi troops that he won't hesitate to do that that's interest and he's opening the door there. A little bit and at the end of -- statement you heard and talk about saying you know what these budget constraints that were under might limit my future military options. As as our scope around the world continues to increase. And of course preparing the public as well we saw a handful of protesters very vocal in that hearing as well as preparing. Obviously lawmakers -- secretary -- talking about the importance of a coalition that the president is working on and say that the US military power. Will not be enough to take on -- What else cities say about forming this coalition. He heard both of the senior pentagon officials talk about the need to make this an international effort a coalition effort. -- and -- saying this is an Iraq led operation but it is not -- Iraq only operation in the sense that it has to include international partners. We know that the US has been seeking to build. Partnerships with countries that are willing to either support financial aid or -- as of -- other means of support. And then most importantly -- -- -- were willing to provide military support Reno about the UK France and Australia. We now get indications from -- administration -- that they are Arab countries that are willing to provide military power as part of this operation presumably is part of the airstrike campaign. Inside Iraq so that's the effort that's ongoing and it's still very in the initial phases and that we -- at the White House today. The photo -- there with President Obama meeting with former with retired -- marine general John Allen who is going to be heading up. That effort of the maintaining the coalition and the push against ice. And taught us a little bit about what hagel said about how -- this is masterfully. Using technology and social media hagel mentioned among the foreign fighters joining nicest. There are some 100 Americans believed to have traveled to Syria. That's -- We need to clarify though that the they are saying a hundred Americans going in broadly to Syria not specifically to prices. Top pentagon officials have told us that they believe may be as many as a dozen Americans -- actually join diocese on the front lines with them. But in the larger group -- behind it who have actually traveled. It from the United States to fight alongside various rebel groups inside Syria and part of that was -- reason why they're trying. Thousands of foreign fighters on several hundred Europeans these hundred Americans is because of this outreach effort that they have on the Internet. They have a very sophisticated social media plan using what many platforms and Americans are familiar with such as Twitter and FaceBook. Getting their message out and it's a recognition from hagel there that this is more than just a war on the battlefield but also a war across the spectrum. Louis how big -- also a propaganda plea and also the social technology does these executions also draw. -- vis -- those executions that we've seen. Hostages western hostages inside Syria. I'm have outraged the world they have formulated. The the coalition against -- that has formed in recent weeks. I'm but they have also galvanize support within their ranks and also above done outreach efforts for it on on behalf of vices. The latest explanation of the -- assessment we've heard from the CIA now is that their numbers have tripled in the last couple of months. Initial estimates were that -- had maybe 101000. Fighters they could call upon. People in both Iraq and Syria that was just back in May now hearing are September -- -- in the Roberts maybe 30000. Ice is fighters on hand so this and it seems like. That outreach and that they're doing over social media using these executions -- western hostages. Me having an effect on them but it's also having a huge negative effect and nationally and you're also seeing. Other Muslim communities being opposed to these actions and that these heinous actions -- -- raises such outrage around the world -- all of this is new of new phase of airstrikes started overnight close to Baghdad what can you tell us about that. Well as you heard -- Cagle saying we -- gonna go to after all ice is targets. When President Obama and a laid out the year authorization for our air strikes eventually grew to protection of American lines inside Iraq. Protection and humanitarian relief effort and infrastructure inside Iraq. Last week he lifted those restrictions and so now any target inside Iraq is -- any ice -- targets that Iraq is available he struck from the air. It's hasn't really happened until yesterday and that incident itself. It wasn't a large coordinated and coordinated effort it was one of those things where there was an Iraqi a unit on the ground -- was taking fire from ice is fighters they needed air support. They got it from an American fighter plane dropped some bombs on them. That's going to be reflective of what we're going to be seeing in this broader air campaign has laid out today. And again going back to it than she said this is not going to be shocking not when we saw all those bombs exploding over Baghdad and coordinated effort. It's going to be more of a a gradual process as -- six. -- across the country very fluid situation thanks Willie Martinez live at the Pentagon. And of course you can continue to watch the hearing. Streamed live on And you can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- And -- the story for those exclusive updates on the go. For now -- Michelle Franzen a New York.

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

{"duration":"31:07","description":"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee to make the case for training and arming Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Politics","id":"25538125","title":"Making the Case Against ISIS","url":"/Politics/video/making-case-isis-25538125"}