Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation [January 23, 2015]   [open pdf - 540KB]

"In recent years, Congress has included provisions in annual defense authorization bills addressing issues related to detainees at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and, more broadly, the disposition of persons captured in the course of hostilities against Al Qaeda and associated forces. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 (2012 NDAA; P.L. 112-81) arguably constituted the most significant legislation informing wartime detention policy since the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF; P.L. 107-40), which serves as the primary legal authority for U.S. operations against Al Qaeda and associated forces. Much of the debate surrounding passage of the 2012 NDAA centered on what appeared to be an effort to confirm or, as some observers view it, expand the detention authority that Congress implicitly granted the President via the AUMF in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But the 2012 NDAA addressed other issues as well, including the continued detention of persons at Guantanamo. Both the 2013 NDAA (P.L. 112-239) and the 2014 NDAA (P.L. 113-66) also contain subtitles addressing U.S. detention policy, though neither act addresses detention matters as comprehensively as did the 2012 NDAA. […] This report offers a brief background of the salient issues raised by the detainee provisions of the FY2012 NDAA, provides a section-by-section analysis, and discusses executive interpretation and implementation of the act's mandatory military detention provision. It also addresses detainee provisions in the 2013 NDAA and 2014 NDAA, as well as those considered during the House and Senate deliberations of the 2015 NDAA. An earlier version of this report was entitled The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 and Beyond: Detainee Matters."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42143
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