In the words of Defense Secretary James Mattis, the war on ISIS has shifted into the “annihilation” phase. While there is broad consensus for aggressively pursuing the terrorist group, the legal grounds upon which the president can expand the use of military force against ISIS are more tenuous.
In recent years, the executive branch has justified its actions against ISIS by pointing to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), legislation relating to the attacks of September 11, 2001 that were signed into law days later – before ISIS even existed. Calls to update or replace the legislation have been unsuccessful.
The Wilson Center is hosting U.S. Senator for AZ, Jeff Flake and U.S. Senator for VA, Tim Kane to discuss the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and to discuss questions such as: Is Congress abdicating authority to authorize wars to the executive branch? What are the practical implications of this situation? Does the start of a new administration in Washington provide an opportunity to update the AUMF?