BAGHDAD (AP) — America's top military leader is in Iraq. The surprise visit by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is his first since a U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the extremist Islamic State group.

His spokesman says the main purpose of Dempsey's visit is to "get a firsthand look at the situation." He plans to visit U.S. troops, commanders and Iraqi leaders.

His trip comes two days after he told Congress that the United States would consider dispatching a modest number of American forces to fight with Iraqi troops as they engage in more complex missions in the campaign against Islamic State militants who control about a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria.