Latest in AUMF: Scope and Reach

War Powers

Do the Strikes on al Shabaab Stretch the AUMF or The Unit Self-defense Doctrine?

Charlie Savage’s piece on the legal basis for the March 5 U.S. strike against an al Shabaab training camp, which allegedly killed 150 fighters, raises the intriguing question of whether the AUMF has been stretched yet again, this time to justify U.S. operations against al Shabaab as a whole.

War Powers

The Obama WPR Letters, 2009-2015

President Obama has sent 39 letters to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution requirements. The letters are a fascinating read and provide a 30,000-foot view of the Administration’s use of military force abroad. The complete letters are linked below, but here is a brief analysis:

A Wider Battlefield

The reports reflect what appears to be a much wider battlefield today than in 2009.

Syria

The (Limited) Ground Combat Mission Spreads to Syria

[UPDATE: The Pentagon has released the transcript of a press briefing today, addressing the SOF deployment to Syria among other things. The DOD official explained that, for now, these operators will not accompany the units they assist when those units go into the field, in contrast to current policy for at least some circumstances in Iraq.

ISIL

Anticipating an Increased U.S. Ground Combat Role against ISIL Based on "Self-Defense"

What, precisely, is the role of U.S. ground forces in the conflict with ISIL? In a post earlier this week, I described how the "train and assist" mission permits the presence of U.S. personnel on site when allies go into combat, and how this in turn can lead to direct involvement in those fights.

Iraq

A Heroic Operation to Free ISIL Prisoners...and a Reminder that the "Assist" Mission Can Mean U.S. Troops in Ground Combat

In a dramatic predawn raid, dozens of Delta Force operators deployed alongside elite Kurdish troops to raid an ISIL compound in Iraq in hopes of freeing prisoners who were under threat of imminent execution. It seems the mission was largely a success, though one American operator was shot and killed in the fighting, and several of the Kurds were wounded as well.

AUMF: Scope and Reach

ISIS, the Taliban, and the 2001 AUMF

The recent confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death has led to a great deal of discussion on a variety of regional issues: what does the Taliban’s loss of Omar mean for the future of the organization? For the Taliban’s peace talks with the Afghan government? For that government itself? And what does it mean for ISIS’s presence in Afghanistan?

AUMF: Scope and Reach

The Attack on Belmokhtar and the Scope of the AUMF

It appears that the United States conducted an airstrike in Libya yesterday, targeting and killing Mokhtar Belmokhtar--a notorious Algerian terrorist who was once a member of GIA and GSPC, continued as a key leader for GSPC after it affiliated with al Qaeda and became AQIM, and most recently broke with AQIM by going independent with

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