The U.S. president's former special envoy to the global coalition to counter Islamic State militants says the Paris attacks will focus the world's attention on how to defeat the group.

But retired Gen. John Allen says the U.S. doesn't need to deploy a significant number of ground troops to do it.

Allen's remarks come ahead of Canada's annual Halifax International Security Forum

Allen, who just left the post, told The Associated Press on Wednesday it's worth remembering the magnitude of the work it took previously to defeat a force in Iraq smaller than IS. He says the U.S. could insert a few brigades or try to empower local forces that will lead to a long term solution.

Allen says not preparing local forces to maintain security is an important point and one that is often missed.