Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant / My Take: Authorization for Use of Military Force


This article was originally published on The Strategy Bridge on February 15, 2015.  Thank you to The Strategy Bridge for continuing to publish my work!

The debate regarding an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is in the forefront of the media this week. Since I began blogging in September of last year, I have written an assessment of the threat ISIL poses to the United States, suggested that foreign policy regarding ISIL be focused on behavior vice group name, and advocated for Congress to establish a strategic planning requirement when the men and women of our Armed Forces are introduced into hostilities. Below is my AUMF for ISIL, reflecting ideas established and refined in previous blog posts, overlayed onto how I think the U.S. should participate in this fight.


To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces against the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria.

Whereas the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria are committing daily acts of barbarity, pose a threat to the United States and the international community, and to support United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2169 (2014) and 2170 (2014), therefore be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:

JOINT RESOLUTION

To authorize use of the United States Armed Forces against the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This joint resolution may be cited as the ‘‘Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Violent Extremist Groups and Individuals Seeking to Establish an Independent State within the Territorial Limits of Iraq and Syria.

SECTION 2. REPEAL OF AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107–243; 116 Stat. 1498; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.

SECTION 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES

(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized, as part of a multinational coalition, subject to the limitations in subsection (c), to use the United States Armed Forces against the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria.

(b) EXPIRATION. The authorization in this section shall expire on the date that is three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.

(c) LIMITATIONS.

(1) The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize use of the United States Armed Forces in direct ground combat in except as necessary for the protection or rescue of United States military members and executive branch employees and contractors, or United States citizens, from imminent danger posed by the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria.

(2) The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the United States Armed Forces to accompany any force or individual, on the ground, engaged in direct ground combat against the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria.

(3) The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the physical presence of the United States Armed Forces inside Syria except to conduct offensive air operations against the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria or to rescue isolated personnel involved in activities against the same.

(d) WAR POWERS RESOLUTION REQUIREMENTS.

(1) Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1547(a)(1)), Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(b)) within the limits of the authorization established under this section.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS. Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).

SECTION 4. REPORTS

(a) PERIODIC REPORT. The President shall report to Congress at least once every 60 days on specific actions taken pursuant to this authorization.

(b) COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY. Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, the President shall submit to Congress an unclassified report, which may include a classified annex, on the comprehensive strategy to address the threat posed by the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria. This comprehensive strategy shall be presented in a manner similar to the agency strategic planning requirements established in section 306 of the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–352).

SECTION 5. DEFINITIONS

(a) Violent Extremist means someone who uses violence to further ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable.

(b) Direct Ground Combat is engaging an enemy on the ground with individual and crew served weapons while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force’s personnel.

(c) Isolated Personnel are United States military members and executive branch employees and contractors, United States citizens, or multinational coalition personnel who are separated from their unit (as an individual or a group) while participating in an activity against groups and individuals using violent extremism to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria, and are, or may be, in a situation where they must survive, evade, resist, or escape.

SECTION 6. APPLICABILITY

The President’s authority to use the United States Armed Forces against the violent extremist groups and individuals seeking to establish an independent state within the territorial limits of Iraq and Syria is wholly contained within this joint resolution.

Categories: Congress, Published Elsewhere
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