Transcript for President Obama on Fight Against ISIS
President Obama in a rare visit to the Pentagon was seeking a briefing on the defense department's efforts in combating ice says. It's a move coming on the heels of persisting criticism of White House strategy in dealing with the extremist group. Analysts victory in New York happy Meredith is speaking right now. President unraveled within their extraordinary service around the world every single day. And that includes the work that brings me here today. Our mission to degrade and all probably destroy the terrorist group Beisel. There's a cause. The coalition that's united countries across the globe. Some sixty nations including Arab partners. Or conference of strategy against Beisel was harnessing all elements of American power across our government. Military and intelligence. Diplomatic and economic. Development and perhaps most importantly the power of our values. Last month I ordered additional actions in support of our strategy. I just met what my national security team as part of our regular effort to assess our efforts. What's working and what we can do better. Sector Carter. German Dempsey and I wanna thank you and your team for walking us and your leadership. Including general Austin who is leading the military campaign. And I want to summarize briefly where we stand. All star by repeating what I've said since the beginning. This will not be quick. As very long term campaign. I so is opportunistic. And it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq including urban areas. It's da again among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out. And doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground. With training and air support from our coalition. As would any military effort there will be periods of progress. But they're also going to be some setbacks. As we've seen what Parcells games in ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria. But today it's also important for us to recognize the progress that's been made. Our coalitions now hit by so would more than 5000 air strikes. We've taken out thousands of fighting positions tanks vehicles bomb factories and training camps. We've eliminated thousands of fighters including senior Beisel commanders. Nor the past year we've seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground I soul can be pushed back. In Iraq are so lost at the Mosul man. Russell lost my passenger. Vessels lost repeatedly. Across cure cook problems. Are so lost at the creek. Altogether Beisel was lost more than a quarter of the populated areas that it had seized in Iraq. In Syria. Parcel obstacle Bonnie. Its recently endured losses across northern Syria including the key city of to all be up. Denying Islip vital supply road to rocker its base of operations. In Syria. So these are reminders that parcel strategic. Weaknesses. Are real. Special surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction. It has nor air force. Our coalition owns the skies. Parcells backed by no nation. It relies on fear sometimes executing its own dissolution fighters. It's unrestrained brutality often they owner its those under its rule creating new items. In short arsenal's recent losses and both Syria and Iraq prove that iso cam and will be defeated. Indeed were intensifying our efforts against parcels based in Syria. Our strikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that form so much of their operations. We're going after a B I sole leadership and infrastructure in Syria. The heart of Beisel the pumps funds and propaganda. Troops people around the world. Part knowing what other countries. Churn more information strengthening laws and border security allows us to work to stand before foreign fighters to Syria. As walls of rock. And to stem obviously the flow of those fighters back into our own countries. It's countries or be a challenge and working together all nations are gonna need to do more but we're starting to see some progress. We're gonna continue to crack down on muscles illicit finance around the world. By the way if congress really wants to help in this effort they can confirm. Mr. Adam zubin our nominee for treasury undersecretary to lead this effort. This is a vital position to our counterterrorism efforts. Nobody suggests. Mr. Zuma does not qualified he's I would call for. Reports lawyers nominations been languishing up on the hill. And we need the senate to confirm him as soon as possible. Meanwhile we continue to ramp up our training and support of local forces that are fighting us along route. As I've said before the suspect immerse Reggie. Was moving too slowly. But the fall ramadi is galvanized the Iraqi Government. So with the additional steps are ordered last month were speeding up training of Beisel forces including volunteers from Sunni tribes in on our problems. More sort of alters are coming forward. Some hardy being trained and they can be a new force against ice. We continue to accelerate the delivery of critical equipment including anti tank weapons to Iraqi Security Forces. Including the fresh murder and tribal fighters. And I made it clear my team that we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria. And all of us set. Our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end of the terror that is sisal. Unless it's match by a broader. Political and economic. That addresses the underlying conditions portable out I sold to gain traction they have killed aboard. And we have to make sure that we as we push them out that board is filled. So as Iraqi cities and towns are liberated from my soul were working with a rock. The United Nations to help communities rebuild the security services and governance that they need. We continue to support the efforts of prime minister a body to forge an inclusive and effective Iraqi Government the unites all the people of Iraq. She is Sunni Kurds at all minority communities. In Syria. The only way of the civil war will end in a way so that the Syrian people can unite against Beisel. Is an inclusive political transition to a new government without Musharraf sought. A government that serves all serious. And discuss this where there are gulf cooperation. Council partners a Camp David and during my recent call with President Putin. Made it clear the United States will continue to work for such a transition. And it glimmer of good news is I think an increasing recognition. On the part of all the players in the region. That given the extraordinary threat that I suppose there's. Is important for us to. Work together as a post at cross purposes to make sure that an inclusive. Syrian government exists. Well folks are discussions today was on Iraq and Syria Iceland's ideology also obviously pose a grave threat be on the region. In recent weeks we've seen deadly attacks in Tunisia Kuwait. And Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. We see a growing. Iso presence in Libya and attempts to establish for Pulte across North Africa the Middle East the caucuses. And southeast Asia. We've seen attacks in Ottawa Sidney France and Copenhagen. Talk called on the international community to unite against this scourge of violent extremists. In this fight the United States continues to lead. When necessary to prevent attacks against our nation's. Will take direct action against terrorists. Continue to also partner. What nations from Afghanistan Nigeria to build up their security forces. We're gonna work day and night would allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks. And to smother. They sent Beisel cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world. This also includes remaining vigilant. In protecting against attacks here in the homeless. Now I think it's important for us to recognize. The threat of violent extremism is not restricted to anyone commuting. Here in the United States we've seen all kinds of homegrown terrorism. And tragically recent history reminds us how. Even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology. Without access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans. So our efforts to counter violent extremism. Must not target any one community because of their faith or background including patriotic Muslim Americans who are our partners and keeping our country safe. That set. We also have to acknowledge that I soul has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting. Vulnerable people around the world including cure in the United States and they are targeting Muslim communities. Around the world. Numerous numerous individuals. Have been arrested across the country for plotting attacks were attempting to join I soul in Syria and Iraq. Two men apparently inspired by Russell opened fired and Garland Texas. Because of our success over the years and improving our Homeland Security we've made it harder for terrorists to carry out large scale attacks like 9/11 here at home. But the threat of long walks or small cells of terrorists. Is complex. It's harder to detect and harder to prevent. When most difficult challenges that we face and preventing these kinds of attacks on American sorrows gonna require sustained effort. Sides want to repeat the good news is that because. Extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as walls or military intelligence. We are doing a better job at preventing any large scale attacks on the homeland. On the other hand these small individual lone wolf attacks were small cells have become harder to detect in the become more sophisticated using their new technologies. And that means that we're gonna have to. Pick up bargain but to prevent these tax. It's also true why ultimately. In or first defeat terrorist groups like Russell and al-Qaeda. Is good also require us to or discredit their ideology. The twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people into directs. I've said before my nor military leaders agree this broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated. With guns they're defeated by better ideas. More attractive and more compelling vision. So the United States will continue to do our part by working with partners Tacoma. Missiles hateful propaganda especially armoire and well costly reform through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We're fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims. But around the world we're also gonna insist on partnering with Muslim communities. As they seek security prosperity and the dignity that they deserve and were gonna expect those communities to step up. Terms of pushing back. As hard as they can't. In in conjunction where it. Other people of goodwill against these hateful all the elders ignored discredit the more effectively particularly when it comes to her what we're teaching young people. And this larger battle for hearts and minds there's going to be a generational struggle. It's ultimately not going to be won or lost by the United States alone. There will be decided by the countries in the communities that terrorists like I shall target. It's going to be up to a Muslim communities including scholars in clerks to keep rejecting warped interpretations of Islam. And to protect their sons and daughters from recruitment. Will be up to all people. Leaders and citizens to reject the sectarianism that so often fuels the resentments and conflicts upon which terrorists are currently thriving. You'll be up to governments to address the political and economic grievances. That terrorists export. Nations that empower citizens to decide their own destiny that uphold human rights for older people. That invest in education and create opportunities for their young people. Those can be powerful antidotes to extremist ideologies. Those of the country's but will find a true partner in the United States. In closing. Let me note that this fourth of July we celebrated 239 years of American independence. Across more than two centuries we faced. Much bigger much more formidable challenges than this. Civil war the Great Depression fascism communism. Terrible natural disasters. 9/11. And every time every generation our nation has risen to the moment. We don't simply endure we emerge stronger than before and that will be the case here. Our mission to destroy iso and keep our country safe will be difficult. It will take time. There will be setbacks as what was progress but as president commander in chief I wanna say it all our men and women in uniform. We're serving in this operation. Our pilots the crews on the ground for personnel. Not only on the ground but it see. Our intelligence teams in our diplomatic teams or thank you. We are proud of you. In Europe. My total confidence that your gonna succeed. The American people I want to say we will continue to be vigil. We will persevere and this is we have for more than two centrist we will ultimately prevail. Thank you very much Herbert and thanks to the team up on the state your witnesses or an outstanding job. You don't want to and once again you have been listening to president Obama's remarks. Prison is wondering are you gonna veto the defense bill government paying me. When these latest thinking that it's weaker second hand through statements that policy in your life would threaten a veto. Which takes or what you wish you vetoed. You are real or more murder get picked. And if you'll note that. Now been present for six met years and we've had some wrangling with congressman the past. Our service members have missed picture. But what is also important in terms of our budget. Is making sure that. We are not short changing all the elements. American power that allow us to a secure the nation and to project our power around the world. So we're we're not gonna do is to. Except a budget that short changes our long term requirements for new technology it's. For readiness. We're not gonna eat or seed corn by. Devoting too much money on things we don't need now and robbing ourselves the capacity to make sure there were prepared for future threats. I've worked very closely with the chairman. And the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a budget that is. Realistic and that looks out of the future and says this is so that I handle any possible contenders. And we can't do that or if we've got a budget that short changes vital operations. And continues to fund things better not necessary. We also have to remind ourselves that the reason we have the best military in the world is. First and foremost because we got the best troops in history. But it's also because we've got a strong economy and we've got and well educated population. And we've gotten incredible research. Operation and universities that allow us to create new products. The Ben can be translated. Into our military superiority around the world. We shortchange girls. Quarter mile secure. So. You know the way we have to look this budget is to recognize that. Hey we can't think short term we've got to think long term and be part of our national security is making sure that we continue to be strong economy. And that we can turn your to make the investments that we need and things like. Education and research that are going to be vital for us to be successful long. Our country we don't get any planned defense. In more American troops overseas right now. Who. There are very good there are no current plans to do so that's not something that we currently discussed. I've always served in that I'm gonna do what's necessary to protect the homeland. One of the principles that we all agree on ball. And you know I'm by press folks pretty hardened because. In these conversations with my military advisors I want to make sure I'm getting blunt. And on a bill altered on censored advice. But in every one of the conversation so we've had that the strong consensus is that. In order for us to succeed long term in this fight against ice. We have to develop local security forces that can sustain problems. It is not enough for us to simply send an American troops. Two. Temporarily. Setback. Organizations like ours but to then as soon as we leave see that void filled once again would extremists. It is going to be Michael for us to make sure that we are preparing the kinds and vocal ground forces and security forces with our partners. That can not only. Succeed against ISO but then sustain. In terms of security and in terms of governments. Because. If if if we try to do everything ourselves. All across the Middle East all across North Africa. Will be playing whack more. And there'll be a whole lot of unintended consequences. That ultimately make us less secure our thank you are. I didn't plant for the. Once again President Obama answering the few questions from reporters at the Pentagon after first making remarks on a mission. He says that is designed to degrade and ultimately destroy vices now following this for us. It ABC news contributor and former Homeland Security official at John Cullen. John welcome. And first the president touched upon that they homegrown threat of he says but first we do some actual numbers. ABC news just reported that this year alone. Forty people with suspected ties to life is had been arrested in the US. Seven of them in the last two weeks so certainly this is a threat not only overseas but here at home. Now I was power. Now absolutely and that the president. In his remarks sought to describe the complex issue were facing dealing with crisis. All right so as they cholera. An organization seeking to project global. Global presence. They are doing it through what they're doing in the region Syria and Iraq through their military actions. They're doing that through gaining affiliations with a growing number of regional extremist organizations and countries like Egypt and Tunisia Libya but she also pointed out they're seeking to inspire through there sophisticated social media campaign. Are individuals and you're. And Canada and United States Australia. Throughout the west. Who choose to come to their crop weather are traveling to the region. Or high acting independently. In their homelands this you know we just came off a fourth of July weekend. There isn't quite concerned about potential. Homegrown. Attacks here in the country. Eco distorts the true BE corporation and the capabilities existence looked local level in cities across this country. That millions of people were able to celebrate the fourth of July. It's safe and secure in the air in their hometown but it doesn't diminished concern exists. That we may see yet additional attacks in this country. Because of these people who are inspire us ideology. So John if these release gears popping up across the country then. How much of what we do abroad actually affects protecting the US cities in here at home. But uninteresting question exciting as I was listening to the president's remarks and talking about this extensive international after. I think on the one hand it's demonstrative. All the work that is being done all the good work that's being done. Two a drastic the concerns raised by excess. But in some respects it policy. Heightens their credibility. Win those who may be drawn to their costs are drawn to other ideology. Here's a group now that is the focus of an international coalition. And a crisis is sending out over social media this message to join their costs because they are fighting against the enemies of their ideology. Com you know the fact that I'll be the leader of the free world talking about its extensive efforts. Will be incorporated mariner. So I think you know one of the things that the president talked about was our domestic. Violence extremism efforts are CE is your current threat. I do think that. To some degree wobbly the national strategy is sound. The way it's been infinitely needs to be refocused to some degree. And there's more that we can be doing at the local level to build the capability to identify those who represent a risk merely following this stuff. Of this these this social media campaign. And can work together at a local well to prevent them from actually carry out an attack. So as reed noted earlier this is a rare visit to the Pentagon for the president. And in your view is this in response to that criticism he's recently received. He as thousands into his remarks I was thinking about you know why are we doing this press conference on the Monday after July 4 weekend. As you pointed out there has been criticism of late to be. They're essential government doesn't really top comprehensive strategy in dealing with the threat posed by a crisis. There have been concerns raised regarding. Not military efforts that I solely focusing on bombing. And hey berries are. Dairy mind Ares slowed to get implemented ground strategy involving local fighters. And again coming up the July 4 weekend where there was very heavily report it. The federal government concerns about half. There have been criticisms that that the administration really doesn't have a comprehensive strategy didn't really hear anything new. Quote I think the president to do effectively. Now let's talk about the wrath of the efforts that the US government as often as it relates to this global strap. Has been hand and you know again I think that in the days ahead he'll continue to see additional announcements. Additional activities that will be carried out in furtherance of that strategy. So perhaps nothing new but as the president put it this will be. Not a quick but rather a long term campaign ABC news contributor and former Homeland Security official John Connelly thank you so much for your time. We you can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news app and starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. Analysts bit her in New York.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.