April 16, 2018

Young Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Update Authorities Used to Fight Islamist Terror Abroad

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and others in introducing bipartisan legislation to replace the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) with an updated AUMF against al-Qaida, the Taliban, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

“It is long past time for Congress to consider and pass a new authorization for the use of military force against ISIS, al Qaeda, and associated forces—sending a clear message to our troops in harm’s way that we support them and have their backs,” said Senator Young. “The authorization for use of military force that we introduced today represents a serious and principled bipartisan compromise that recognizes the unique nature of the Islamist terrorist threat, while also recognizing that Congress must exercise robust oversight in order to fulfill its Article One Constitutional responsibilities related to war powers. I applaud Chairman Corker, Senator Kaine, and Senator Flake for their longstanding efforts related to an AUMF, and I am proud of the role I played in breaking a deadlock in negotiations and helping to get the legislation to this point.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation.” 

Since arriving in the Senate in January 2017, Senator Young has made the consideration and passage of a new AUMF a top priority of his work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  In March of last year, Young introduced legislation to authorize the use of force against ISIS and published an op-ed explaining why he believed it necessary.  Last May, Young spoke about the AUMF at the Heritage Foundation.  In the last few months, as a Senator who previously served in the Marine Corps, Young worked behind the scenes to break a deadlock in negotiations, draft compromise legislation, and push the process forward. 

The legislation, also cosponsored by Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), strengthens congressional oversight and transparency and provides the executive branch with updated authorities to fight non-state terrorist groups abroad. The current legal authority was passed by Congress immediately following the attacks on September 11, 2001, and has not been updated since. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has exclusive jurisdiction over authorizations for use of military force and is scheduled to debate, amend, and vote on the proposed legislation the week of April 23.   

The Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2018 contains the following key provisions:

  • Authorization for Use of Military Force: Authorizes the executive to use all necessary and appropriate force against al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and designated associated forces. The legislation does not provide authority for military action against any nation state.
  • Quadrennial Congressional Review: Establishes a process for Congress to review the AUMF every four years without risking a lapse in authorization. On January 20, 2022, and again every four years thereafter, the president must submit to Congress a proposal to repeal, modify, or leave in place the AUMF. For a 60-day period beginning on that same date, legislation to repeal or modify the AUMF will qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for both debate and a vote. If Congress fails to enact new legislation, the existing authorities remain in place.
  • Congressional Oversight and Transparency:
  • Associated Forces and Foreign Countries: Requires the president to report to Congress on all new designated associated forces, the basis for those designations, and each new country in which the United States is using military force pursuant to the AUMF.  
  • Congressional Review: The president may immediately use force against a new associated force or in a new country pursuant to the new AUMF, but within 48 hours, must notify Congress. Such a notification triggers a 60-day period during which legislation to remove the authority to use military force against the new associated force or in the new foreign country will qualify for expedited consideration. If Congress takes no action, the existing authorities remain in place. 
  • Repeal of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs: Repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs after the new AUMF has been in place for 120 days.  

Introduction of the legislation follows lengthy debate and discussion in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Since June 2017, the committee has held three public hearings, one closed briefing, and several meetings on the topic. Text of the legislation is available here.