Ash Carter says boots on the ground needed to defeat ISIS

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Friday that the U.S.-led coalition will put boots on the ground in its fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

“We’re looking for opportunities to do more and there will be boots on the ground and I want to be clear about that,” Carter told CNBC from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “But it’s a strategic question whether you are enabling local forces to take and hold rather than trying to substitute for them. That is a strategic intention that we have.”

Carter also said America’s allies should “do more,” adding that ISIS needs to be defeated in Mosul and its home base in Raqqa, Syria.

Carter is scheduled to meet with a broad group of defense ministers in two weeks where he is expected to press them to do more.

"The United States does not ask people for favors, but we don't grant favors either, and so we're looking for other people to play their part,” he said.

Carter said he plans to get defense ministers to play a bigger role in the fight against ISIS by sharing U.S. operations plans with them.

He also said the U.S. would remain focused on advising and assisting Iraqi and Syrian Arab forces to take and hold territory.

“To eliminate the parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, we are enabling local, motivated forces with critical support from a global coalition wielding a suite of capabilities—ranging from airstrikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment, mobility and logistics, training, advice and assistance,” Carter said in a separate editorial published Friday in Politico. “It must be local forces who deliver (ISIS) a lasting defeat, because only they can secure and govern the territory by building long-term trust within the populations they liberate.”