In the News

Dereliction of Duty in Afghanistan

Authors Mike Fuchs and Hardin Lang discuss the possible repercussions of President Donald Trump relinquishing his responsibility to make decisions concerning sending troops to Afghanistan to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

News that President Donald Trump has delegated authority to determine U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon is a deeply troubling development. This decision abdicates the president’s responsibility to determine when American soldiers go into battle. It also sets a dangerous precedent that separates military plans from wider U.S. foreign policy strategy.

There are a couple of possible explanations as to why the president could have made this decision. The most favorable reading is that Trump seeks to empower his extremely capable defense secretary to make timely decisions about resources based on the ebb and flow of battle. Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of this approach. But few would dispute the need for decisions about more troops to be taken as part of a wider strategy.

The above excerpt was originally published in U.S. News & World Report. Click here to view the full article.

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Michael Fuchs

Senior Fellow

Hardin Lang

Senior Fellow