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U.S. finally names ISIS campaign 'Operation Inherent Resolve'

The U.S. has been bombing ISIS targets for more than two months but waited until today to give the military interventions in Iraq and Syria an official operation name. The mission is called Operation Inherent Resolve.

Name signals willingness to 'degrade and ultimately destroy' the group, U.S. says

The U.S. says 'Operation Inherent Resolve' is the name for its ongoing mission against ISIS fighters. (Reuters)

The United States has been dropping bombs on ISIS targets for more than two months but it has taken until today to finally give a name to the military mission in Iraq and Syria.

Operation Inherent Resolve is now the official name and it will apply retroactively to all U.S. military actions taken against ISIS since Aug.8, when the first airstrikes were conducted in Iraq.

U.S. Central Command said in a news release that the moniker is meant to reflect the "unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe" to eliminate ISIS, also known as ISIL.

"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 release said.

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobani by the Kurds, after a U.S.-led coalition strike. (AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the major significance of the U.S. deciding to re-engage its military in Iraq after years of fighting there and then finally withdrawing in 2011, the mission had no name before today. Even the U.S. mission to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa had a name (Operation United Assistance) before the ISIS operation.

The Pentagon has been designating military actions with an "Operation" name for years. The war in Afghanistan, for example, was Operation Enduring Freedom.  Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom were all used at various times for missions related to Iraq.

The Pentagon and White House have fielded repeated questions from reporters in recent weeks about what to call the military intervention.  Assigning a name is an important detail when it comes to things like budget appropriations and to awarding medals to military members who carry out the operations.

'Resolved and determined'

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said at the end of September that he wasn’t aware of any plans to come up with a name. But things obviously changed between then and now.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct.3 that Operation Inherent Resolve was one idea for the name but that it had been rejected at the Pentagon.

"That's the name. It's out there. And that's what we're calling it, and now we're moving forward," he said Wednesday at a briefing.

Kirby said the U.S. talked about the name with the coalition it has built to fight ISIS, including Canada, and there was a general sense of approval.

"What it says, and for us what it means, is that we are going to stay resolved and determined to get after this threat. We're going to do it in as fulsome a way as we can. And we're going to do it for as long as required," he said.

Operation Inherent Resolve was announced a day after President Obama met with a gathering of defence officials from the participating coalition countries.

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