The White House is drafting a presidential directive that calls on Defense Secretary James N. Mattis to devise plans to more aggressively strike the Islamic State, which could include American artillery on the ground in Syria and Army attack helicopters to support an assault on the group’s capital, Raqqa, officials said.
President Trump, who is to make his first visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief on Friday, will demand that the new options be presented to him within 30 days, the officials said. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly said that he had a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State, but he also said that he would give his commanders a month to come up with new options.
The White House is also expected to press for a review of the United States nuclear posture — one that retains all three legs of the nuclear arsenal with weapons aboard bombers and submarines and in underground missile silos — as well as a review of how to achieve the president’s goal of fielding a “state of the art” antimissile system…
The potential options include expanding the use of American Special Operations forces, raising the troop ceilings on United States forces in Iraq and Syria and having the White House delegate more authorities to the Pentagon and its commanders in the field, to speed up decision-making.