The White House will reportedly look to increase funding for the fight against Islamic State in an effort to ramp up the fighting against the terror group in the Middle East.
The Pentagon budget for the 2017 fiscal year is expected to call for more than $7 billion for the war against ISIS, unnamed U.S. officials told Reuters Monday. The budget will increase the spending by a dramatic 35 percent compared to last year’s request.
Meanwhile, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, in a conference call from Iraq, told reporters Monday that there is a “good potential” that more U.S. and coalition forces will be needed to fight ISIS. MacFarland said he’s working on ways to increase pressure on ISIS militants, and some may require more troops on the ground to assist local Iraqi and Syrian forces.
"I'd like the enemy to find out about it for the first time when the area around them is going up in smoke," said MacFarland, adding that he is reviewing what the right mix of new forces and capabilities should be and is in discussions with coalition partners and the government of Iraq.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter is expected to announce what he wants in the next defense budget on Tuesday. President Barack Obama will release the full budget request on Feb. 9.
Carter’s announcement is not only expected to include defense measures for the fight against Islamic State, but to include reassurance for European allies who feel threatened over Russia’s intervention against Ukraine and address the need for the U.S. to pose a military edge over Russia and China, according to Reuters.
The proposed budget is also going to request spending on key fronts, including cybersecurity, defense measures against cyberattacks and additional security for U.S. satellites, the source told Reuters.
MacFarland also responded to a statement made from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who said at the latest Fox News/Google Republican Presidential Debate that U.S. should use carpet bomb airstrikes against Islmaic State militants.
He dismissed Cruz’s comments, saying that notion is “inconsistent with our values” as a nation. The U.S., MacFarland continues, has a guiding set of principles that govern how American forces conduct themselves on the battle field.
"Right now we have the moral high ground and that's where we're going to stay," he added, noting reports that Russia has conducted carpet bombing in Syria.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.