Days after the president's State of the Union address, during which he insisted the campaign against ISIS is succeeding, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited MacDill Air Force Base to say the campaign would accelerate.
"It is gathering momentum," he said during his visit Thursday. "We are taking advantage of every opportunity we can."
He said ISIS is feeling the brunt of air strikes and the seizure of money. He cited the Iraqi takeover of Ramadi and the bombing of an ISIS bank that robbed the terror network of millions of dollars.
"This pressure is having an effect against ISIL," Secretary Carter explained.
But if ISIS is losing ground in Iraq and Syria, the head of Central Command, General Lloyd Austin said ISIS could lash out with terror attacks like the one Wednesday in Jakarta.
"ISIL wants to draw attention away from the growing number of setbacks that he is experiencing," Austin said. "It is important to understand that these terrorist acts don't necessarily mean ISIL is getting stronger."
However, the secretary said fewer potential terrorists are likely to be inspired if they see their base of operation dwindling.
1,700 additional American trainers are reportedly set to go train Iraqi soldiers this spring.
"We are going to be doing more," said Secretary Carter. "Our operational approach is not to try to substitute for local forces, but to enable them to win. The reason for that is quite simply someone has to keep the victory after the victory is won."