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The “End of War” Timeline

The “End of War” Timeline contains short descriptions of prominent news about the United States’ various war activities and plans.  The Timeline aims to provide a rolling contextual description of modern war in its many guises, so that Lawfare readers can better discern the complexity and variation in contemporary war waged by the United States.  See here for the origins of the Timeline, and contact us with comments or suggestions.

October 2013

October 3, 2013: The United States announces plans to deploy Global Hawk drones, P-8 aircraft, and an X-band radar system in Japan.

October 2, 2013: The WP reports that the United States and Afghanistan remain unable to agree on key issues in negotiations for a security agreement to allow U.S. forces to remain there past 2014.

October 2, 2013; The WP reports that the CIA is expanding its efforts to train Syrian rebel fighters.

September 2013

September 30, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills three suspected militants.

September 29, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills three suspected militants.

September 28, 2013: The NYT reports that NSA “began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice.”

September 27, 2013: The U.N. Security Council passes a resolution that requires Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons stockpiles but does not provide specific penalties for noncompliance.

September 25, 2013: The Department of State renews its worldwide caution following al-Shabab’s attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi.

September 22, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills at least six suspected militants.

September 19, 2013: CNN reports that the Department of Defense has proposed training and supplying moderate Syrian rebels.

September 18, 2013: Niger invites the United States to deploy armed drones in the country to combat Islamist militants and drug trafficking.

September 15, 2013: In an interview, President Obama says that his “suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn’t draw a lesson that we haven’t struck [Syria] to think we won’t strike Iran.”

September 14, 2013: The United States and Russia reach an agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

September 13, 2013: The WP reports that the United States is flying large amounts of equipment out of Afghanistan at great cost, rather than using less expensive land routes.

September 11, 2013: The WP reports that the CIA has begun delivering light weapons and ammunition to Syrian rebels.

September 10, 2013: President Obama delivers a speech in which he says that the Russian proposal for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons stockpiles “has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force” and that he has “asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.”

September 6, 2013: The United States orders partial evacuations of diplomatic posts in Lebanon and Turkey based on concerns that strikes in Syria could lead to retaliation.

September 6, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills five suspected militants.

September 4, 2013: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves a draft AUMF that would allow strikes in Syria for sixty days, with the possibility of a thirty-day extension, and prohibit the deployment of ground troops.

September 1, 2013: The Obama administration releases a proposed AUMF that would allow the President to use “necessary and appropriate” force in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

August 2013

August 31, 2013: President Obama announces that he will seek congressional approval for strikes on Syria.

August 31, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills four suspected militants.

August 30, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills six suspected militants.

August 29, 2013: The British Parliament rejects military participation in strikes on Syria, but President Obama remains prepared to moved ahead with the operation.

August 27, 2013: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announces that U.S. forces are in a position to launch strikes on Syria if ordered to do so by President Obama.

August 27, 2013: The Syrian Electronic Army claims responsibility for cyber attacks on the NYT and Twitter.

August 24, 2013: The WP reports that President Obama is considering a variety of options for responding to the suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria, including cruise missile strikes, increased support to rebels, and a no-fly zone.

August 23, 2013: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel suggests that the United States is repositioning naval assets closer to Syria.

August 20, 2013: The WSJ reports that NSA has the capacity to collect approximately 75% of U.S. internet traffic.

August 18, 2013: The United States reopens its embassy in Sana’a, which it recently closed based on threat reporting.

August 15, 2013: The Syrian Electronic Army conducts cyber attacks on the Washington PostTime, and CNN.

August 14, 2013: The WSJ reports that the United States and the Philippines are negotiating an agreement to increase the U.S. military presence in the country.

August 11, 2013: The United States reopens diplomatic posts that it recently closed based on terrorism threats, with the exception of the U.S. embassy in Sana’a.

August 10, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills two suspected al-Qaeda members.

August 9, 2013: The United States evacuates nonemergency personnel from its consulate in Lahore based on threat reporting.

August 8, 2013: The NYT reports that “N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.”

August 8, 2013: Three U.S. drone strikes in Yemen kill twelve people.

August 7, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills seven suspected al-Qaeda members.

August 6, 2013: The United States evacuates nonemergency personnel from its embassy in Sana’a based on terrorism threats.

August 6, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills four suspected al-Qaeda members.

August 1, 2013: Following remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry suggesting that the Obama administration intends to wind down its use of drones in Pakistan, the White House denies any plan to end the drone program in the near future.

August 1, 2013: The United States closes a number of diplomatic posts based on intelligence reporting about attack planning by an al-Qaeda affiliate.

August 1, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills three suspected al-Qaeda members.

July 2013

July 28, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills six suspected militants.

July 28, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills six suspected al-Qaeda members.

July 23, 2013: The WP reports that the CIA has begun closing bases in Afghanistan and plans to continue to do so over the next two years.

July 22, 2013: The WP reports that the congressional intelligence committees have approved weapons shipments to the Syrian opposition.

July 22, 2013: The WP reports that the U.S. military has greatly expanded its use of drone surveillance outside of traditional combat zones.

July 17, 2013: CNN reports that a U.S. drone strike killed the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in April.

July 13, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills two suspected militants.

July 10, 2013: The WP reports that the Obama administration’s plan to arm the Syrian opposition has stalled because of disagreement in Congress.

July 8, 2013: The NYT reports that, because of difficulties working with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, “President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a ‘zero option’ that would leave no American troops there after next year.”

July 3, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills at least sixteen people.

June 2013

June 30, 2013: The Guardian reports that NSA’s “list of [collection] targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey.”

June 29, 2013Der Spiegel reports that NSA has been collecting signals intelligence on EU offices in New York and Washington.

June 26, 2013: The WSJ reports that the “Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.”

June 22, 2013: At a conference in Doha, the United States and ten other countries agree to send weapons to the Syrian opposition.

June 18, 2013: NATO formally transfers security responsibility for all parts of Afghanistan to Afghan forces.

June 15, 2013: The WP reports that the United States will keep a unit of F-16s and Patriot missile batteries in Jordan following the conclusion of an exercise next week.

June 13, 2013: The Obama administration announces that the United States will provide direct military support to the Syrian opposition. The support “is expected initially to consist of light arms and ammunition.”

June 13, 2013: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claims “that the U.S. government has been hacking Chinese institutions for years.”

June 10, 2013: President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping conclude a two-day summit without any agreement on cybersecurity issues.

June 9, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills six suspected militants.

June 8, 2013The Guardian reports that NSA has developed a new tool called Boundless Informant to catalog and analyze communications metadata.

June 7, 2013: President Obama directs “his senior national security and intelligence officials to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks.”

June 7, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills seven people.

June 6, 2013: The WP reports that NSA and GCHQ are collecting communications to which foreign targets are parties directly from the servers of several major technology companies.

June 5, 2013The Guardian reports that a FISA order requires Verizon to provide NSA with metadata for all calls in its systems, including both those within the United States and those between parties in the United States and parties in foreign countries.

June 5, 2013: NATO announces that the United States will lead a multinational training mission in Afghanistan after 2014.

June 1, 2013: Two U.S. drone strikes in Yemen kill seven suspected militants.

May 2013

May 29, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills the second-in-command of the Pakistani Taliban.

May 27, 2013: The WP reports that Chinese cyber espionage has compromised the designs for at least two dozen major U.S. weapons systems.

May 23, 2013: In a speech at the National Defense University, President Obama defends drone strikes as legal and effective, while also pledging to target only those “who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people” when there is “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”

May 22, 2013: The Obama administration acknowledges that “that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009.”

May 20, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills two suspected militants.

May 19, 2013: The NYT reports that China has resumed its cyber exploitation efforts against U.S. government agencies and contractors.

May 18, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills four suspected militants.

May 16, 2013: Federal agents arrest an Uzbek man in Boise, Idaho, on terrorism charges.

May 12, 2013: The NYT reports that “[a] new wave of cyberattacks” originating in the Middle East has targeted American energy companies.

May 9, 2013: Afghan President Hamid Karzai announces that he would agree to U.S. bases in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

May 6, 2013: The Department of Defense releases a report blaming China for cyber exploitation against the U.S. government agencies and contractors.

May 5, 2013: The WP reports that the Israeli airstrikes in Syria “are likely to accelerate the decision-making of the Obama administration, which was already moving toward a sharp escalation of U.S. involvement in the two-year-old crisis.”

April 2013

April 30, 2013: The WP reports that President Obama is moving toward sending arms to the Syrian opposition.

April 30, 2013: The United States deploys approximately twenty military personnel to Mali for noncombat missions.

April 27, 2013: The Daily Mail reports that British Royal Air Force pilots helped pilot U.S. drones in Iraq.

April 23, 2013: The Syrian Electronic Army claims responsibility for a cyber attack on the AP’s Twitter account, in which a false message reported that explosions at the White House had injured President Obama.

April 22, 2013: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration is considering a variety of responses to Chinese cyber espionage, including “trade sanctions, diplomatic pressure, indictments of Chinese nationals in U.S. courts and cyber countermeasures—both attack and defense.”

April 17, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills five suspected al-Qaeda members.

April 17, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills five suspected militants.

April 17, 2013: The WP reports that a headquarters unit of the 1st Armored Division will deploy “to Jordan for possible chemical weapons control, humanitarian response or ‘stability operations’ in Syria.”

April 15, 2013: Two pressure-cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon kill three people and injure over 140.

April 14, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills five people.

April 11, 2013: Turkish police announce that they have uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and other targets.

April 9, 2013: Prior to a meeting with Syrian opposition leaders in London, Secretary of State John Kerry suggests that the Obama administration could increase its support for Syrian rebels.

April 6, 2013: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel postpones a scheduled ICBM test “because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis.”

April 4, 2013USA Today reports that DoD is finalizing rules of engagement for responding to cyber attacks.

April 3, 2013: The United States deploys anti-missile systems to Guam in response to North Korean threats.

April 2, 2013: The NYT reports that the U.S. Special Operations Command is planning “a significantly increased presence in Africa, Asia and Latin America for…Special Forces soldiers.”

March 2013

March 29, 2013: Following aggressive rhetoric by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the United States takes “the unprecedented step this week of sending two stealth bombers to South Korea as part of an ongoing military training exercise.”

March 25, 2013: The Associated Press reports that the United States is secretly training secular Syrian opposition fighters in Jordan.

March 25, 2013: The United States turns over control of the Bagram prison facilities to the Afghan government.

March 24, 2013: The NYT reports that the CIA has increased its role in Syria and that “American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons…and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”

March 22, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills four people.

March 20, 2013: President Obama says that the United States is “investigating whether chemical weapons were used in Syria and reiterate[s] his pledge that their use by the government of President Bashar al-Assad would be a ‘game changer’ for U.S. policy.”

March 20, 2013: The United States agrees to withdraw special operations forces from Wardak province following Afghan President Karzai’s abuse claims.

March 19, 2013: Dan Klaidman of The Daily Beast reports that “the White House is poised to sign off on a plan to shift the CIA’s lethal targeting program to the Defense Department.”

March 18, 2013: Rwandan war criminal Bosco Ntaganda surrenders at the U.S. embassy in Kigali and asks to be transferred to the International Criminal Court.

March 15, 2013: The Los Angeles Times reports that “[t]he CIA has stepped up secret contingency planning to protect the United States and its allies as the turmoil expands in Syria, including collecting intelligence on Islamic extremists for the first time for possible lethal drone strikes.”

March 15, 2013: The Defense Department announces that it will deploy fourteen additional missile interceptors in Alaska because of concerns about North Korea.

March 12, 2013: General Keith Alexander testifies that the “Cyber Command will create 13 offensive teams by the fall of 2015 to help defend the nation against major computer attacks from abroad.”

March 10, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills two people.

March 10, 2013: Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly criticizes U.S. involvement in Afghanistan during Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s first visit to the country.

March 7, 2013: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. officials took custody of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law in Jordan and brought him to New York, where he faces trial on terrorism charges.

March 6, 2013: The WP reports that the Obama administration is debating whether the 2001 AUMF provides a legal basis for military operations against organizations without a direct connection to al-Qaeda.

March 4, 2013: The Wall Street Journal reports that the United States has increased its support to the French-led military campaign in Mali, including using drones to provide “intelligence and targeting information that have led to nearly 60 French airstrikes in the past week alone.”

February 2013

February 28, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry announces that the United States will supply food and medicine to Syrian rebels.

February 24, 2013: The Afghan government demands the withdrawal of U.S. special operations forces from Wardak province because of abuses allegedly committed by U.S. troops and Afghans working for them.

February 22, 2013: President Obama announces the deployment of 100 U.S. troops to Niger to establish a drone base to surveil al-Qaeda fighters in the Sahara.

February 21, 2013: The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan increased by 72% in 2012.

February 20, 2013: President Obama releases a report outlining a legal and diplomatic strategy for responding to the theft of U.S. trade secrets.

February 20, 2013: The WP reports that Chinese hackers have penetrated a number of Washington institutions, including “law firms, think tanks, news organizations, human rights groups, contractors, congressional offices, embassies and federal agencies.”

February 18, 2013: The NYT reports that a Chinese People’s Liberation Army unit is responsible for “an overwhelming percentage of the [cyber] attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies.”

February 12, 2013: In his State of the Union Address, President Obama announces the withdrawal of 34,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan over the next twelve months. He explains that “the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self” but cautions that new threats have emerged in the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. He warns that the United States will need to support countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia and declares that “where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”

February 11, 2013: President Obama authorizes spending $50 million to support French military operations in Mali.

February 10, 2013: The WP reports that a new National Intelligence Assessment “has concluded that the United States is the target of a massive, sustained cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening the country’s economic competitiveness.”

February 8, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills two suspected al-Qaeda members.

February 6, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills three people.

February 4, 2013: A leaked DOJ white paper lays out “a legal framework for considering the circumstances in which the U.S. government could use lethal force in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or an associated force.”

February 1, 2013: A suicide bomber strikes the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard.

January 2013

January 28, 2013: The United States signs a status of forces agreement with Niger “that clears the way for a stepped-up American military presence on the edges of the conflict in neighboring Mali,” and that portends a drone base in North Africa to surveil, and (maybe later) attack, Islamist militants in the region.

January 27, 2013: The WP reports that the Pentagon “has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold to bolster the nation’s ability to defend critical computer systems and conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries.”

January 23, 2013: “At least six suspected al Qaeda members were killed in a U.S. drone strike” in Yemen.

January 21, 2013: President Obama proclaims that a “decade of war is now ending.”

January 21, 2013: A U.S. drone strike in Yemen “killed three suspected al-Qaida militants and wounded two others.”

January 19, 2013: Two U.S. drone strikes in Yemen “killed eight people, including two known al-Qaida militants.”

January 19, 2013: The WP reports that the Obama administration “is nearing completion of a detailed counterterrorism manual that is designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations.”

January 11, 2013: President Obama announces that U.S. forces will play a more limited role in Afghanistan beginning in the spring. The WP reports that the new role will be “mostly advisory and training.”

January 2-10, 2013Six drone strikes in Waziristan killed dozens. (Another report indicates that there were seven strikes, not six.)

December 2012

December 31, 2012: The Pentagon establishes Special Operations Command-North to “teach Mexican security forces how to hunt drug cartels the same way special operations teams hunt al-Qaida” in what one report calls “a sign the U.S. is preparing for a long shadow war against the cartels.

December 29, 2012: President Obama issues a War Powers Resolution report indicating that approximately 50 military personnel “deployed to Chad to support the evacuation of U.S. embassy personnel and U.S. citizens from the Central African Republic.”

December 28, 2012: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills four suspected militants.

December 21, 2012: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills four suspected militants.

December 20, 2012: The U.N. Security Council votes to establish “a U.S.- and European-backed African force” to assist Mali’s military. The resolution also authorizes foreign governments to use force in Mali.

December 14, 2012: President Obama issues a periodic War Powers Resolution report about the War in Afghanistan and other ongoing military operations. The report specifically mentions military activities in Guantanamo Bay, Somalia, Yemen, Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Egypt, Kosovo, and Libya.

December 11, 2012: President Obama formally recognizes the Syrian Opposition Coalition as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

December 8, 2012: A U.S. Navy Seal is killed in an operation to rescue a kidnapped American doctor in Afghanistan.

December 6, 2012: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration is considering asking Congress for greater authority to conduct counterterrorism operations in Africa.

December 6, 2012: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills three suspected militants.

December 1, 2012: A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan kills an al-Qaeda commander.

November 2012

November 30, 2012: DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson gives a speech at the Oxford Union in which he stated that “on the present course, there will come a tipping point . . . at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, such that al Qaeda as we know it, the organization that our Congress authorized the military to pursue in 2001, has been effectively destroyed.”  Johnson added that “[a]t that point, we must be able to say to ourselves that our efforts should no longer be considered an “armed conflict” against al Qaeda.”  He also insisted, however, that he offered “no prediction about when this conflict will end, or whether we are . . . near the ‘beginning of the end.’”

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