2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force: Issues Concerning Its Continued Application [April 14, 2015]   [open pdf - 332KB]

"In response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, Congress enacted the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001 AUMF; P.L. 107-40; 50 U.S.C. §1541 note) to authorize the use of military force against those who perpetrated or provided support for the attacks. Under the authority of the 2001 AUMF, U.S. Armed Forces have conducted military operations in Afghanistan since October 2001. As armed conflict against Al Qaeda and the Taliban progressed, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy evolved, U.S. use of military force has expanded outside Afghanistan to include Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and most recently, Syria. The 2001 AUMF is not the sole authority for all U.S. uses of military force in furtherance of U.S. counterterrorism objectives; other legislation and presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution are invoked to carry out U.S. counterterrorism activities globally. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration still finds itself relying on 2001 AUMF authority not only for continuing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, but also for beginning a new campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with the possibility of expansion to other countries if the Islamic State or Al Qaeda groups or associates effectively expand their reach and pose a threat to U.S. national security and interests. At the same time, the President has requested that Congress enact new authority for U.S. operations to counter the Islamic State and has expressed a continued commitment to 'working with the Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the 2001 AUMF.'"

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CRS Report for Congress, R43983
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