On the combat operations floor of the nerve center for the air war against ISIS, David Martin and 60 Minutes cameras watch as a B-1 bomber zeroes in on its target. On one wall they can see a map tracking all the planes -- including Russian -- over Iraq and Syria. On another wall, they watch a live-video feed from an unmanned drone orbiting the target -- a cluster of buildings which U.S. intelligence believes is hiding an ISIS car bomb factory.
Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, the commander of the air war, joins them on the operations floor and describes the strike as it unfolds in real time. This is the first-ever look inside the command center -- located in a bunker-like building in the Persian Gulf country of Qatar -- for the 14-month-old air campaign against ISIS. Martin's report from inside the air war will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday October 25 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The air war costs the U.S. $10 million-a-day and Lt. Gen. Brown describes for Martin the amount of work that single B-1 strike entailed. "Scheduling-wise [its] about a three-day process and some of those targets we've looked at for...days, weeks and sometimes months," he tells Martin.
The mission 60 Minutes follows results in the destruction of the buildings with secondary explosions indicating that explosives were stored inside. It is one of 47 such facilities the U.S. and allied planes have hit over the past six weeks. Brown acknowledges that ISIS will probably set up another factory elsewhere, but that, he says, is the nature of this war, which pits a superpower against an enemy intent on dragging the Middle East back to the Middle Ages.
"Our goal is to halt them wherever they are and take those kinds of things out . . . Every day we go out and strike it, it's one step closer. I can't tell you how many steps it's going to take," Brown says.