Combating ISIS and Defeating Radical Islamic Extremism

For over two decades, I have had the honor of serving in defense of our country both at home and abroad, working to counter the broad range of threats we face. It is clear that ISIS is a dangerous enemy of the United States. We must be both smart and strategic in our approach to defeating ISIS, while pushing back against the avenues to radicalization that have allowed ISIS to grow.

While we have seen some key victories against ISIS — including the successful targeting of key leaders, the advances in Manbij in Syria, and the retaking of Fallujah in Iraq — we still have work to do. The continued instability caused by the Syrian civil war, the devolution of security in Iraq, and the continued instability in Libya have led to a regional power vacuum that has allowed ISIS to take hold and impose their own twisted version of Islam and Sharia law on the people whose towns they occupy.

Effectively combating ISIS requires a partnership between the Congress and the President to authorize and fund an unrelenting focus on finding and eliminating the radical elements that continue to incite, plan, and conduct violent activities against U.S. citizens. Our Congress has the responsibility of ensuring that our military has the authorities, resources, and partnerships needed to effectively tackle this multi-national threat. At the same time, it is critical for Congress to establish clear, bounded objectives to minimize the risk of drawing the U.S. into a prolonged, expansive military engagement in the myriad of conflicts across the region.

It is important for the United States to have a strong, sensible policy that first and foremost prevents an attack on our homeland. To do so, we must focus on directly combating the threats posed by ISIS to the U.S. and our allies through 5 key lines of effort to provide the authorities, resources, and oversight needed to effectively dismantle ISIS, while preventing mission creep and the risk of a broader, more prolonged military engagement in the Middle East. It will not be quick, and it will not be easy. But with the right leadership in Congress, we can defeat ISIS.

Key Priorities

Protect the Homeland: Reinvigorate our Joint Terrorism Task Force to effectively integrate information on threats and interrupt planned attacks on the homeland.

A New AUMF for our Current Enemy: Pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to provide clear legal authority to the executive branch to hunt down and capture or kill ISIS leadership wherever they are hiding, while ensuring focused and rigorous Congressional oversight to prevent mission creep or executive overreach.

Intelligence Sharing and Joint Operational Planning to Create a True Coalition : Enhance support for intelligence sharing and joint planning, including efforts with key regional partners in the fight against ISIS.

Cutting Off ISIS Sources of Money: Expand operations and financial activities aimed at undermining ISIS sources of power — specifically their oil, arms, and financial backers.

Confront ISIS in their Cyber War: Expand and enhance existing authorities and funding that allow the U.S. to engage in offensive and defensive cyber operations to undermine and eliminate ISIS efforts to radicalize and recruit online.

Here’s a link to my full plan.



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John Plumb is a member of the United States Navy Reserve. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or Department of Defense.

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