On Sunday, December 6, at 8:00 pm ET, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office about the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe.
For seven years, I have confronted this evolving threat each morning in my intelligence briefing. And since the day I took this office, I have authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is. As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people.President Obama
The President laid out the key elements of our strategy that are needed to combat the threat of terrorism abroad and here at home.
Abroad, here is what the U.S. and the international community are doing:
Since the tragic terrorist attack in Paris on November 13, the U.S., along with our partners in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, have intensified our efforts. Here's what that looks like:
- Since November 17, Coalition airstrikes destroyed 283 ISIL oil tanker trucks, 120 ISIL oil storage tanks, and a significant amount of oil field infrastructure in eastern Syria.
- On November 17, Canada announced it would increase its trainers in northern Iraq.
- On December 2, the United States announced that, in full coordination and consultation with the Government of Iraq, it plans to deploy an Expeditionary Targeting Force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish partners, including by launching raids against ISIL targets, gathering intelligence, and capturing ISIL leadership.
- On December 3, the United Kingdom began striking ISIL targets in Syria.
- On December 4, the German Parliament approved plans to commit up to 1,200 troops to the counter ISIL fight, including potentially deploying surveillance and tanker aircraft.
- Italy announced plans to increase its presence in Iraq to 750 trainers.
- France deployed aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the eastern Mediterranean to intensify strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria, particularly around al-Raqqah.
In addition to enhancements in the military campaign in Iraq and Syria, we are taking new steps with international partners to improve our homeland defenses:
- On November 16, the United States and France signed a new agreement to enable the U.S. military to share more intelligence on a range of challenges, particularly ISIL.
- On December 1, the United States announced a number of enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program/
- On December 17, the United States will host a UN Summit to combat financing of extremist groups, particularly ISIL.
- A number of Coalition partners, including Belgium, Germany, Kuwait, Tunisia, made arrests to break up ISIL and ISIL-inspired terrorist cells.
At home, here is what Congress can do to help strengthen our national security:
The need to act could not be more clear. From 2004 to 2014, for example, 2,000 people on the terror watch list were able to purchase guns.
This is what we should do. What we should not do is reject the proposals that Muslim Americans who reject ISIL’s destructive ideology should somehow be treated differently. Our fight to defeat ISIL is not a war with Islam. President Obama spoke to that:
“ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs, and killers—part of a cult of death” —@POTUS https://t.co/g3VxwSP7Fe
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 7, 2015
Read the transcript of the President’s speech here.