According to the New York Times, Dempsey told reporters that a future campaign is possible to establish the so-called "lily pads" – US bases where the military instructors train local forces against extremists.
"You could see one in the corridor from Baghdad to Tikrit to Kirkuk to Mosul," Dempsey said. The new military facility would be based on a base currently under construction in the Anbar governorate.
Such facilities would require extra servicemen, Dempsey added.
The US-led coalition has been firing air-to-ground missiles at militant positions in both countries, and has deployed ground forces to train Iraqi soldiers and militias.
On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama approved sending up to 450 more military personnel to train local Iraqi servicemen. As many as 3,000 US troops are currently in the country.