Justification for Overseas Contingency Operations Syria Train and Equip Fund
The United States Government (USG) strategy to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh, directs the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) to conduct a campaign to degrade, dismantle, and ultimately defeat Daesh. One of the keys to successfully countering Daesh is training, equipping, and sustaining Vetted Syrian Opposition (VSO) forces. The FY 2017 STEF budget request provides the resources necessary to train, equip, and sustain VSO forces currently engaged in military operations while training additional forces in FY2017. The Special Operations Joint Task ForceOperation Inherent Resolve (SOJTF-OIR) requires flexibility in the training program due to many variables, including the identification of select Moderate Syrian Opposition (MSO) forces that request and gain approval as VSO and the potential for expansion in the training program given site capacity and throughput. We expect training to evolve in terms of duration, size, and course program of instruction (POI) syllabus. Training courses will be tailored to train specific skills and capabilities. Training will be scalable and tailored based on experience, competence and potential of individuals and size of teams. The Train & Equip program supports current objectives to degrade and counter Daesh, enable the security of Syria, and support the defense of the United States and Partner Nations (PN). To accomplish U.S. military objectives, VSO should be appropriately, trained, and supplied with weapons, ammunition, equipment, and sustainment to gain and maintain dominance on the battlefield. DoD supports the VSO development into a legitimate and effective force by creating increased capability to effectively defeat Daesh in the Combined Joint Operations Area (CJOA). Simultaneously, DoD must recruit, vet, train, and equip additional Syrians of different sects and ethnic groups of the Syrian population to enable them to engage Daesh across the Syrian battlespace. The expansion of support to forces already fielded and engaged against Daesh inside Syria necessitates a transition from U.S. to Former Soviet Bloc (FSB) weapons and ammunition because these groups currently operate FSB weapons.