Recent developments in Iraq and Syria have raised serious concerns about the Obama administration’s current strategy to counter the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. The United States’ failure to train and equip an effective moderate force in Syria, Russia’s newly redoubled efforts to bolster the Assad regime against ISIS and opposition forces, and an apparent stalemate in Iraq highlight the need for a review of long-term US objectives and strategy. Even if international parties to the anti-ISIS coalition continue to step up their kinetic efforts, the overall plan appears lacking.

The Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security recently held a high-level war game to explore future courses of action that the US-led coalition could pursue against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including staying the course, implementing a diplomatic surge, and carrying out a heavy military intervention. Participants explored these options with the aim of informing key domestic and regional stakeholders on the critical components of a successful coalition strategy.

The Atlantic Council hosted a public event on Thursday, October 15 at which these findings were presented before a broader discussion of the strategic challenges facing the United States and its partners in the fight against ISIS.