The US would not deploy armed forces to take on militants in Iraq, Obama reiterated yesterday, though his top military adviser, had said a day earlier that he could envision recommending deployment of ground troops.
General Martin Dempsey had told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that if airstrikes did not prove effective enough against Islamic extremist group ISIS, he would recommend putting troops in Iraq. Obama had even earlier ruled out sending in US combat forces.
Meanwhile, AP reported Obama met with top officers at US Central Command in Tampa, which coordinates US military efforts in the Middle East. He was accompanied by national security adviser, Susan Rice, and defense secretary Chuck Hagel.
"It is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of our partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries' futures," Obama told service members at US Central Command in Tampa, Florida. "That is the only solution that will succeed over the long term."
Yesterday, Obama said leading a broad coalition of countries united against ISIS and supporting Iraqi troops on the ground was the best route to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the extremists.
"These terrorists will learn the same thing leaders of al Qaeda already know: We mean what we say. Our reach is long. If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. We will find you eventually," he said.
He added that US troops had conducted over 160 airstrikes against them so far.
Obama will spend a couple of days away from Washington to meet with the generals and the scientists charged with carrying out missions against two distinct national security threats, both of which were taking a toll human lives and jeopardising regional stability.
Obama will return to Washington to meet Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, today drawing attention to continuing tensions with Russia.