President Obama is meeting with his National Security Council at the Pentagon on Monday to discuss the administration’s strategy to combat the militant group ISIS, as part of an ongoing effort to reassure Americans about national security in the wake of terrorist attacks at home and abroad.
Obama will be updated on the ongoing strategy to “defeat and ultimately destroy” the terror network, just one week after delivering a rare prime time speech to the nation. Obama is expected to address reporters after the meeting.
During his most recent address, Obama laid out the current strategy and said he has “no greater responsibility than the security of the American people.” The U.S. has continued to carry out airstrikes against the terror group in Iraq and Syria, called on allies to help in the attacks, and provided training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces on the ground, Obama said from the Oval Office on Dec. 6. The speech came in the wake of the deadly attack in San Bernardino, Calif., which killed 14 people.
While Obama stands by his plan to defeat the group, in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, he has come under growing criticism by Republicans in Congress and those seeking to succeed him as president.
Obama has also come under fire for avoiding the phrase “radical Islamic terror” when discussing the threat of ISIS. Instead, he’s sought to differentiate Islam from the practices and beliefs of terrorists. “[ISIS] does not speak for Islam,” Obama said. “They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology.”
Monday’s stop at the Pentagon was Obama’s first of a series of meetings on the counter-terrorism strategy scheduled ahead of the holidays. On Thursday, the president will travel to the National Terrorism Center for a threat briefing before heading to Hawaii with his family on Friday.