Although the United States has resisted a “boots on the ground” intervention in Syria and Iraq in the battle against ISIS, the Pentagon is going to request a 50 percent increase in spending to combat the terrorist group in its 2017 defense budget -- up to $7.5 billion.
A large portion of that money, $1.8 billion, would fund more than 45,000 warplanes used to bomb the group with precision-guided missiles, the Associated Press reports.
Despite the request, the Pentagon has been accused of being somewhat secretive about its role in fighting ISIS. Although 3,650 U.S. troops are reportedly fighting the group in Iraq, most of whom are there to help train the country’s national army, The Daily Beast reports the number is closer to 4,450 troops, plus an additional 7,000 private contractors.
The U.S. has faltered on its policy of not having troops on the ground, which Secretary of Defense Ash Carter acknowledged in an interview with CNBC in January.
"We're looking for opportunities to do more, and there will be boots on the ground — I want to be clear about that — but it's a strategic question, whether you are enabling local forces to take and hold, rather than trying to substitute for them,” Carter said.
"I'm confident we will [defeat ISIS], but I want to accelerate that process," he added.