Senior military and administration officials have said that the United States is considering a strategy to combat the Islamic State that would involve opening up a network of training bases across Iraq, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, General Martin E. Dempsey described to reporters a series of what he referred to as “lily pads,” where the American military would train local security forces and tribesmen:

General Dempsey said the United States was still hoping the Iraqi government would find a way to engage Sunnis to beat back the Islamic State, but he also talked of what he called a “Plan B” in case that never happens.

“We have not given up on the possibility that the Iraqi government could absolutely be whole,” he said, but added that “the game changers are going to have to come from the Iraqi government itself.”

“If we reach a point where we don’t think those game changers are successful, then we will have to look for other avenues to maintain pressure on ISIL, and we will have to look at other partners,” he said.

The United States is still shipping arms and equipment to the Iraqi Army in Taqqadum, in Anbar province, where a training hub has already been established. (Four-hundred fifty Americans are already stationed there.) The supplies are intended for Sunni fighters working alongside the Iraqi who will theoretically hold Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, if and when it is recaptured from ISIS.

Photo credit: AP Images. Contact the author of this post: