Although the President already has the legal authority he needs to take action against ISIL, he has noted that we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. A bipartisan authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL would provide a clear and powerful signal to the American people, to our allies, and to our enemies that the U.S. is united behind the effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.
Key elements of the US President’s proposal include:
- A three-year limit on the AUMF so that the next US President, Congress, and the American people can assess the progress made against ISIL and review these authorities again
- A repeal of the 2002 Iraq AUMF which authorized the 2003 Iraq invasion under former US President George W. Bush
It’s important to note that the AUMF the President is proposing would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. His proposal does seek the flexibility to conduct ground operations in other, more limited circumstances, including:
- Rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel
- Special Operations missions against ISIL leadership
- Intelligence collection and assistance to partner forces
An AUMF, or authorization of use of military force, is a law passed by US Congress that authorizes the President to use U.S. military force.
Obama and the US administration is firm in its view that ISIL poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners. These terrorists are responsible for the deaths of innocent U.S. citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Jean Mueller.
Unlike the AUMF that authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US President’s proposal does not authorize enduring offensive ground combat operations and limits this authorization to three years. In short, Obama’s proposal is not the authorization of another ground war like Afghanistan or Iraq.
Right now, America’s armed forces are working with some 60 nations to destroy ISIL. Coalition air strikes have been instrumental in disrupting ISIL’s command and control and supply lines and taking out their commanders and fighters.