- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State is disorganized and suffers “from a lack of coherence,” crippling efforts to defeat the terrorist group, according to a new federal report. 

The new report by the Congressional Research Service, which was not made public but was released by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), warns that the war effort is being hindered by a lack of coordination and efforts that “contradict” one another.

The report’s author’s lamented the lack of a central authority to organize joint efforts to defeat the terrorist group and said contradicting geopolitical interests in the region were making matters worse. 

“Without a single authority responsible for prioritizing and adjudicating between different multinational civilian and military lines of effort, different actors often work at cross-purposes without intending to do so,” the report reads. 

“Exacerbating matters, other actors in the region—some of whom are coalition partners—have different, and often conflicting, longer-term regional geopolitical interests from those of the United States or other coalition members,” researches wrote in the report. “This, in turn, may lead nations participating in the coalition to advance their goals and objectives in ways that might contradict each other.”

In addition, differing rules governing combat for each nation have complicated the war effort, according to the report.

“Different participants in the coalition have different tolerances for risk, and therefore will determine ‘rules of engagement’ (ROE), or ‘caveats’ that can constrain the ability of military commanders from employing military force as they see fit,” the report concluded. “While navigable, all these factors can make it considerably more difficult to consolidate gains and achieve campaign success.”

The report also questions the legal justifications for the effort. 

Several UN resolutions authorize members states to participate in coalition activities countering terrorist financing, assisting with humanitarian relief, and assisting with stabilization efforts, but these resolutions “fall short of explicitly authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State,” according to the report. 

The analysis comes amid a string of reports alleging the militant group is making gains in Iraq, gaining sizable territory and key cities.

The joint military campaign against the Islamic State group has cost the United States roughly $3.21 billion as of July 15, according the the Department of Defense.

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