Some will say that ISIS overachieved here, or that Omar Mateen was more a deranged individual than an ISIS operative, or that recent battlefield progress by the United States and its partners against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will soon lead to the group’s demise. None of these arguments is compelling as a case for complacency. What Mateen did, even if it is the bloodiest single shooting spree in U.S. history, is entirely repeatable by well-trained individuals with access to weapons like the AR-15.
John R. Allen is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Prior to joining Brookings as senior fellow and co-director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Allen served as special presidential envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIL, a position he held for 14 months. Immediately following retirement from the Marine Corps, Allen was the senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East security, and in that role he led the security dialogue with Israel and the Palestinian Authority for 15 months within the Middle East peace process.
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