Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States' Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the foreword by President Barack Obama: "Decisions regarding war and peace are among the most important any President faces. It is critical, therefore, that such decisions are made pursuant to a policy and legal framework that affords clear guidance internally, reduces the risk of an ill-considered decision, and enables the disclosure of as much information as possible to the public, consistent with national security and the proper functioning of the Government, so that an informed public can scrutinize our actions and hold us to account. [...] It describes, among other things, how my Administration has ensured that our uses of force overseas are supported by a solid domestic law framework and consistent with an international legal framework predicated on the concepts of sovereignty and self-defense embedded in the United Nations Charter. And it describes how the United States has applied rules, practices, and policies long used in traditional warfare to this new type of conflict. [...] In conjunction with the release of this report, I am issuing a Presidential Memorandum that encourages future Administrations to build on this report and carry forward the principles of transparency it represents. In particular, the memorandum states that the National Security Council staff shall be asked, as appropriate, to update the report at least on an annual basis and to arrange for the report to be released to the public."

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Listed on January 18, 2017 [Critical Releases]