The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Operation against the Islamic State to be called Inherent Resolve

After more than two months of airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Pentagon has given its operation against the militant group a name: Inherent Resolve.

Col. Edward Thomas, a spokesman for Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, disclosed the name to a handful of reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday. He offered no details on its genesis, or why it took so long for the Defense Department to name the operation. The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 3 that Inherent Resolve was proposed, but rejected by senior officers at the Pentagon.

Officials with U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that the name applies to operations against the Islamic State since airstrikes U.S. airstrikes began in Iraq on Aug. 8.

“According to CENTCOM officials, the name INHERENT RESOLVE is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community,” the statement said, using one of the acronyms for the militant group. “It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with our friends in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary – diplomatic, informational, military, economic – to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”

The nameless nature of the operation had become a punchline across Washington and the U.S. military since President Obama sent hundreds of military advisers to Iraq in June, after numerous units fled their posts in the face of a militant onslaught. The Post’s In the Loop blog ran a contest seeking contenders. One popular proposal on Twitter was Operation Dude, Where’s My Humvee, a reference to U.S. airstrikes being called in on U.S.-built military vehicles, now that they have been captured by militants.

U.S. military operations are routinely named, usually with a specific message in mind. The Afghanistan War, for example, has been called Operation Enduring Freedom for years. The Iraq War was called Operation Iraqi Freedom, and then changed to Operation New Dawn in August 2010, as the U.S. military withdrew troops and sought to convey a new beginning in Iraq.

Inherent Resolve had been rejected by senior officers for a variety of reasons, including that it didn’t reflect the international coalition now involved in striking Islamic State targets and seemed uninspired, the Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 3.

“It is just kind of bleh,” one officer told the Journal.

That apparently has changed, prompting a strong reaction online Wednesday. Some tweets of note:

Craig Whitlock contributed to this report.