Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Issue Brief Calls for New Congressional Approval to Combat ISIS
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Issue Brief Calls for New Congressional Approval to Combat ISIS

Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama’s strategy to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, includes an important military component. However, the legal authorization that the president is using to implement this plan is more than 13 years old and developed to fight a different enemy at a different time.

The Center for American Progress has released an issue brief calling for a new legal authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, from Congress that provides clarity of mission and purpose in the fight against ISIS and a durable framework for future administrations to use. The brief was released following yesterday’s keynote address at the Center for American Progress Action Fund by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), an outspoken proponent of a new AUMF to cover the conflict with ISIS.

“Whatever the merits of the Obama administration’s legal arguments, obtaining specific congressional authorization for the long-term military campaign against ISIS would undoubtedly establish a stronger and more stable platform for this conflict,” said Ken Gude, CAP Senior Fellow. “Congress needs to accept its responsibility and work with the president on a new authorization in the lame duck session.”

The brief says that a new AUMF should explicitly name ISIS and do so in a way that allows enough flexibility to account for frequent name changes and splintering of terrorist groups. Congress should also define the nature of the engagement by authorizing the deployment of specific capabilities such as air power and special operations forces to train local forces or support Americans directly threatened by ISIS. The president has repeatedly said that there will be no U.S. ground troops; however, specificity in the AUMF will help tamp down potential mission creep. The new AUMF should include a geographical scope placing boundaries on where the president can use force and a way of determining when a military action against ISIS has concluded.

Click here to read the report.
Click here to view Sen. Kaine’s speech.

For more information, please contact Tom Caiazza at 202.481.7141 or [email protected].