U.S. troops will take greater risks to fight the Islamic State on the ground in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday as he unveiled a tougher approach toward the extremist group aimed at breaking a months-long stalemate.

Carter outlined the new approach to the Senate Armed Services Committee that appeared to take committee members by surprise. Chairman John McCain, who had called Tuesday's hearing amid Republican frustrations at what they see as a too-passive approach to fighting the Islamic State by the Obama administration, admonished him and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford that their written testimony should have been submitted 24 hours in advance.

The new approach relies on boosting support for Iraqi forces seeking to push back the Islamic State in Ramadi, and for Syrian rebels approaching the extremist group's headquarters at Raqqa. A third peg, which Carter foreshadowed Friday in a briefing for Pentagon reporters, will be stepped-up raids by U.S. special operations forces against targets of opportunity such as the one last week on a prison in northern Iraq in which a U.S. soldier was killed.

"Our strategy's execution can and must and will be strengthened," Carter told the panel.

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