President Obama Provides an Update on Our Strategy to Degrade and Destroy ISIL

President Barack Obama delivers a statement and answers a few questions from the press following his meeting with Defense Department and military leadership regarding the campaign against ISIL, at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., July 6, 2015.... Read more »

“A True American Patriot” — President Obama Pays Tribute to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

President Obama, Vice President Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary Hagel

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Fort Myer, Va., Jan. 28, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President traveled to Fort Myer, Virginia yesterday for the Armed Forces farewell ceremony in honor of our 24th Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.

In his remarks, the President acknowledged Secretary Hagel's courageous work during his lifelong service as a decorated veteran and Secretary:

[T]oday is a celebration of a quintessentially American life -- a man from the heartland who devoted his life to America. Just imagine, in your mind’s eye, the defining moments of his life. The kid from Nebraska who, as Marty said, volunteered to go to Vietnam. The soldier outside Saigon, rushing to pull his own brother from a burning APC. The deputy at the VA who stood up for his fellow Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange. The senator who helped lead the fight for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, to give this generation of heroes the same opportunities that he had.

I asked Chuck to lead this department at a moment of profound transition. And today we express our gratitude for the progress under his watch.

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Weekly Wrap Up: September 6-12

This week, President Obama spoke about the threat posed by ISIL and commemorated the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the First Lady hosted a "prep" rally in Atlanta.

Check out what else you may have missed this week in our weekly wrap up.

“If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

On Wednesday evening, from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the American people about our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

ISIL was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq and has since infiltrated territories on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President highlighted that:

ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. ... It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.

In his remarks, the President outlined the four key components of the United States’ strategy to defeat ISIL:

  1. We will work with the Iraqi government to conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against ISIL.
  2. We will increase support of forces fighting ISIL on the ground.
  3. We will work with our partners to continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks and sustain an effective long-term campaign against ISIL.
  4. We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the innocent and vulnerable civilians displaced by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

The President reiterated and assured the American people that “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Watch the President’s full remarks on ISIL here.

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President Obama: “We Will Degrade and Ultimately Destroy ISIL”

Watch on YouTube In an address from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the nation tonight about ISIL -- and our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group. The President reiterated that as Co... Read more »

The Press Secretary’s Statement on Troop Levels in Iraq

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released the following statement about U.S. Military personnel in Iraq.

Today, the President authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President's commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.

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Airstrikes in Iraq: What You Need to Know

President Obama has authorized the U.S. military to execute targeted airstrikes in Iraq.

The President takes no decision more seriously than the use of military force. So it's worth taking a few minutes to make sure you understand exactly what is happening in Iraq right now, who is involved, and why we are taking action. Here are a few answers to some key questions Americans may be asking:

1. What exactly did the President do?

On August 7, 2014, President Obama authorized two operations in the northern region of Iraq. First, he authorized the military to use limited airstrikes to protect American diplomatic and military personnel serving in the city of Erbil. Second, the United States is delivering humanitarian aid to thousands of Yezidis, Iraqi civilians, who have been forced to flee their homes and are now stranded on a mountainside — facing near-certain death without our assistance.

2. Why are airstrikes needed now?

Terrorist forces known as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) have been advancing across Iraq. ISIL had moved toward the city of Erbil, where many American diplomats and military advisors are currently serving. By August 7, ISIL forces had taken positions only minutes from Erbil.

In order to stop ISIL’s advance from threatening our people and facilities, the President ordered targeted airstrikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward Erbil.

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