Defense

May 17, 2013

2001 authorization still legal basis for war, leaders say

Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force remains viable more than a decade after its passing, a panel of defense leaders told Congress May 16.

The authorization empowers the president ìto use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Michael A. Sheehan, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, and Robert S. Taylor, acting general counsel for the Defense Department, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the law of armed conflict, the use of military force and the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

Other witnesses were Army Brig. Gen. Richard Gross, legal counsel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, who serves in the Joint Staffís deputy directorate for special operations, or J-37.

Taylor outlined the legal framework for warfare, which he said rests on the principles of humanity and avoidance of suffering; distinction, which limits allowable targets to military objectives; military necessity, which calls for all legal means of force to be used in accomplishing a valid military objective; and proportionality, which requires that the anticipated collateral damage of an attack not exceed the anticipated military advantage.

Sheehan said the 2001 authorization, commonly known as the AUMF, governs the current armed conflict between the United States and al-Qaida, the Taliban and associated groups. He described the process by which the Pentagon develops targeting recommendations in that conflict for the presidentís approval.

Sheehan noted the departmentís recommendations result from a ìcareful, fact-intensive assessment to determine, first, whether individuals or groups pose a threat to the United States and, second, whether they are ìappropriately targetable. Appropriately targetable groups are not just in sympathy with, but actually co-belligerents with al Qaeda or the Taliban, Sheehan said.

Sheehan told the committee the department determines which groups or individuals can be identified as associated with al Qaeda. He agreed to provide the committee a list of such groups, and keep them informed of any changes to it.

He added that for operations outside Afghanistan, the targeting review ìcontinues up the chain of command, through the four-star combatant commander, and all the way to the secretary of defense.

Before the secretary makes a decision, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the departmentís general counsel review the recommendation, Sheehan said, and senior officials in other departments and agencies provide input on requested use of military force against al Qaeda, the Taliban, or an associated force outside of Afghanistan.

ìMilitary orders implementing a final decision are then transmitted down through the military chain of command to the relevant forces that carry out such operations,î he added. ìThis process includes rigorous safeguards to protect innocent civilians.

All four panelists noted they have not seen an instance where existing authorities, including the AUMF, prohibited the use of force.

Nagata explained that he monitors the implementation of the counterterrorism missions, orders and directions the defense secretary issues to combatant commanders.

ìI’ve not yet encountered a situation where there was insufficient legal authority for the combatant commander to execute the mission or the direction he’s been given,î the general noted.

Gross agreed. As staff judge advocate at U.S. Central Command and during his service as the chairmanís legal counsel, he said, I haven’t seen a situation where there wasn’t some legal authority to be able to go after members of al-Qaida or associated forces.

Sheehan noted that if a terrorist organization outside of al-Qaida, the Taliban and associate forces began to threaten the United States, ìThen we might have to look at different authorities or extended authority or adjustment of authority to go after that organization.

Sheehan and Taylor both also agreed that when hostilities with al-Qaida end, the AUMF will no longer be in force.

Sheehan said the end of the conflict will not be soon, however.

ìI believe it’s at least years in advance, based on my understanding of the organization, of resiliency of al-Qaida and its affiliate forces,î he said. ìIt’s many years in advance.î




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 26, 2014

News: When Hagel leaves, new SecDef faces big questions about the military’s future - President Obama’s new pick to run the Pentagon will face a dizzying set of challenges affecting the Defense Department’s mission, budget and culture. Who will be the next Secretary of Defense?- Following the Nov. 24 surprise announcement from the White House, the...
 
 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>