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AUMFIslamic StateMonday, December 8, 2014

Congress Needs to Step up to the Plate and Pass an Islamic State AUMF

Congress Needs to Step up to the Plate and Pass an Islamic State AUMF This week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to conduct a hearing on an Islamic State Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and work on draft legislation. The hearing and legislative process in the Committee is expected to be contentious with uncertain prospects for any piece of legislation to move forward during the limited time left for this Congress. Nonetheless, Congress has the responsibility to act decisively as soon as possible, especially given that the war has far exceeded the 60-day limit under the War Powers Resolution and Congress is preparing to authorize and appropriate new funds for the conflict. In acting, Congress should apply the lessons from the… Read More ›

GuantanamoIslamic StateOCO BudgetMonday, December 1, 2014

Five Challenges Waiting for Hagel’s Successor

Last week, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced he would be stepping down from his position. While the timeline for his replacement is not entirely certain, what is certain is that a host of national security challenges await the next secretary of defense at a time of complicated relations between the Pentagon, the White House and Congress. Top among the challenges are better matching American military strategy to available resources, pursuing long-overdue cost-savings reforms, putting an end to the abuse of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds, handling – and gaining authorization for – the conflict against the Islamic State, and overseeing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility through additional transfer of detainees and, ideally, its closure. 1. Develop a military strategy that achieves U.S. national security… Read More ›

Friday, October 31, 2014

Conservative Critics Ignore Facts in Call for Guantanamo Transfer Ban

Conservative Critics Ignore Facts in Call for Guantanamo Transfer Ban Congressional conservatives are rallying for a new ban on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees – with a complete disregard for the facts. Politicians, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), are reacting this week to an unsubstantiated report from Fox News that claims former Guantanamo detainees are returning to terrorism, some fighting in Syria with the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. This is not supported by any public record – and in fact, reports by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and New America Foundation have found that rates of recidivism are low and have dropped over time. The continued fear-mongering and obstruction of the transfer… Read More ›

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Public Opinion Supports Progressive National Security Policies ahead of Midterms

Public Opinion Supports Progressive National Security Policies ahead of Midterms As next week’s midterm elections approach, many pundits and analysts expect that a handful of close races will determine who will control Congress for the rest of President Obama’s term in office. A poll by the Pew Research Center found that many Americans view the midterms as a referendum on the President’s performance, noting that “Fully 61% of Republican voters consider their congressional ballot as a vote against the president.” Despite the hard electoral battle faced by many Democrats, recent polls have also found strong popular support for progressive policies on national security and foreign policy issues. The polling data on the issues are clear: The American public is confident in the Obama Administration’s response… Read More ›

AUMFIraqIslamic StateSyriaWednesday, October 8, 2014

We Need a New AUMF | John Bradshaw

We Need a New AUMF By John Bradshaw, Executive Director of the National Security Network October 08, 2014 | The Hill As military action expands against the Islamic State, legislative proposals for authorizing the use of military force are proliferating on Capitol Hill. While there is no consensus on how Congress should approach an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), most of the proposals demonstrate that lessons have been learned since passage of the open-ended 2001 AUMF.  The proposed language is generally cautious about giving the president unrestricted authority and includes constraints such as geographic limitations, prohibitions on ground troops, and sunset clauses.  All of the proposals circulating so far, though, fail to include a component that will be essential to preventing the… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateWednesday, September 17, 2014

POLICY BRIEF: Navigating an AUMF for the Islamic State

Navigating an AUMF for the Islamic State: Toward a High-Standard Authorization Policy Brief by Bill French and J. Dana Stuster September 18, 2014 Policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch are rightfully focused on addressing the threat posed by the Islamic State. The White House maintains that it already possesses the legal authority for armed conflict against the Islamic State under the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This view is mistaken, and has received a critical reception from legal experts and members of Congress, some of whom have called for a new AUMF. In the past week, several new authorizations have already been proposed. If Congress is to authorize the armed conflict, lawmakers should use this opportunity to construct a… Read More ›

BenghaziFriday, May 2, 2014

Benghazi and the AUMF: What Not to Do

U.S. Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division [DoD photo by Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, U.S. Army/Released, 4/29/14]Amid fresh political gamesmanship over Benghazi, conservative hysteria shows signs of crossing the Rubicon into bad policy. In the context of politically motivated attacks, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is preparing to introduce a measure that would amend the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to apply to the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks. But this proposal faces a number of severe problems. Because those thought to be responsible for the attacks in Benghazi – members of Ansar al-Sharia – are not an associated force or true affiliates of core al Qaeda, the proposal is inconsistent with the… Read More ›

Friday, March 28, 2014

Obama’s NSA Reform Proposal: A Step Forward but More is Needed

Yesterday, the White House announced its proposal for reforming NSA metadata collection programs. The proposal includes constructive elements, especially ceasing government collection and storage of citizens’ telephone metadata and requiring Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Courts to approve government access to citizen’s metadata stored by telecoms. However, it remained silent on critical issues that must be addressed in any serious reform efforts, such as reforming the FISA Courts themselves. The FISA Courts currently function as a rubber stamp for NSA requests, and require more robust oversight and transparency measures, including the creation of a privacy advocate to penetrate the Courts’ secrecy on behalf of the public. Fortunately, these imperatives appear to be reflected in legislation in Congress that would enact reform. In moving forward, Congress… Read More ›

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