Secretary of State John Kerry claimed Tuesday that the U.S. and 65 other nations fighting the Islamic State are making headway against the terrorist group, even as he agreed that non-state actors and religious fervor are real challenges the U.S. must face in today's world.

In a foreign affairs speech he delivered in Los Angeles, Kerry reported that the coalition is keeping the Islamic State in check. He also stressed that his assessment shouldn't be compared to similar assessments of "progress" during the Vietnam War, when he was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

"It is clear, and I say this with all the chastening of a war I fought in in which we always heard reports of progress, and I look at these things pretty carefully as a consequence," Kerry said. "But I can tell you that it is clear on the battlefield, we are making progress."

"D'aesh has not taken one territory, one community and held it, since last May, and we've recovered 40 percent of the territory that they had claimed," he added, using his preferred term for the terrorist group.

"And we will defeat D'aesh," he said.

Kerry admitted that the Islamic State is a result of several different factors seen in the world today.

"One storm appears to be overlapping the next in today's world," he said. "Meanwhile, the authority of national governments is increasingly undermined by a combination of non-state actor pressures, bad governance marked in many places by rampant corruption, and a fever of sectarian national and religious extremism."