President Obama said Thursday the United States does not yet have a strategy for combating the Islamist militant group ISIS in Syria.

If that sounds bad, White House and Pentagon officials say you're not looking at his words in context.

"The president was talking specifically about military options for countering ISIS in Syria," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday. "The president hasn't yet laid out a specific plan for military action in Syria, and the reason for that is simply that the Pentagon is still developing that plan."

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Department of Defense is actively discussing options to counter ISIS beyond the borders of Iraq, but has not formulated a definitive plan.

"We're not at the point where we're prepared to have a more fulsome discussion about what those options are," Kirby said.

Although a military component will undoubtedly be part of the long-term solution to militant violence, Kirby stressed Friday the solution will have to extend well beyond the use of force.

"Whatever the options are for Syria, it's not just going to be military, it can't just be military," Kirby said.