Top U.S. General: Ground Troops Still a Possibility in Islamic State Campaign

So much for avoiding "boots on the ground."

"To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

"It could very well be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission. But for the day-to-day activities that I anticipate will evolve over time, I don't see it to be necessary right now.

Still, with the American public skittish about getting dragged into another prolonged campaign in the Middle East, the Obama administration has been careful to emphasize that boots probably won't be hitting the ground anytime soon.