Pentagon Picks a Name for Its Latest War—the Same One It Already Rejected


Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that senior defense officials were struggling with how to resolve an ongoing issue related to the ongoing strikes in Iraq and Syria: the operation didn't have a name. As a result, all the PowerPoint presentation decks—and if you know much of anything about the military, you know how seriously it takes its PowerPoint presentations—were referring to it with the blandly descriptive phrase, "Operations in Iraq and Syria." What's a war without an impressive, inspiring name?

After weeks of brainstorming, military officials came up with a name they thought could work: Operation Inherent Resolve. It was…very…very…well, okay, it wasn't that good.

And so, according to the Journal, the name was firmly rejected. From the WSJ's October 3 report:

To some military officers, Inherent Resolve didn't properly evoke the Middle East. Others faulted it for failing to highlight the international coalition the U.S. had assembled. Still others simply found it uninspiring…. Other officials said had the name been better received it might well be the new war's moniker.

"It is just kind of bleh," said a military officer.

Senior military aides reportedly requested a new name, perhaps something that would better capture the grandeur and importance and contradiction of a series of "limited" strikes that somehow became a multiyear military operation led by a president who campaigned on ending the war in Iraq. (This last bit isn't strictly true.)

Now, two weeks later, the Pentagon has finally settled on a, ah, rather familiar moniker: Operation Inherent Resolve.

From The Wall Street Journal's update this afternoon:

Despite the initial reaction at the Pentagon, military officials said that Central Command pressed to adopt Operation Inherent Resolve as the moniker. Additionally, some officials thought that a mundane name also would be a safe choice, unlikely to offend any member of the international coalition the U.S. has assembled to strike extremist targets.

Still, some defense officials said privately Wednesday that the Pentagon and Central Command may have missed an opportunity to find a name that would better capture the imagination of the public, and potentially build support or explain the military operation.

Maybe "Operation: Let's All Pretend It's Not *Really* A War" was a little too on the nose?

Come up with a better name? Share it in the comments section below.