TTR ISIL v1.6 February 2016


  • ISIL is an evolution of an insurgent group that has changed its name to reflect an increasing geographic vision.
  • ISIL’s advantage to date has been an increasingly large number of fighters and deep cash reserves to fund its operations. This provides greater capacity to organize, train, and equip like a military organization.
  • ISIL executes military tactics to the best of its capability. This is a greater capability than that shown by previous insurgencies in the area, but still not best practice in a number of warfighting functions and key tasks.
  • High value targets for ISIL have included such infrastructure as dams and oil refineries, which also contribute to its cash flow.
  • Social media use has reached a new level of refinement.
  • ISIL’s rapid mobility, due to control of key lines of communication (LOCs) in Eastern Syria, is a key strength of the group.
  • ISIL’s command and control is superior to most other insurgent groups in Iraq and Syria.
  • ISIL’s command and control is being negatively impacted by coalition airstrikes; however, it has developed techniques such as tunnels to adapt.*
  • Fluctuations and reductions in revenue sources, such as oil, have been disruptive.
  • ISIL is escalating to higher levels the violent images it distributes via social media.
  • While ISIL’s momentum in Iraq and Syria has been stalled, its direct and indirect influence internationally has contributed to its ongoing narrative of a worldwide caliphate.