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A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Issues and Current Proposals

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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In 2014, the armed offensive of the Islamic State also known as ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh in northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria raised significant concerns for the United States. After first ordering multiple deployments of U.S. troops to Iraq to provide security to diplomatic personnel and facilities, advise Iraqi security forces, and conduct intelligence gathering and reconnaissance, President Obama began ordering U.S. military airstrikes on IS forces in Iraq in August 2014. Later in September, after laying out plans for expanded use of military force against the Islamic State in a televised speech to the American people, the President ordered U.S. military airstrikes in Syria against both IS forces and forces of the Khorasan Group, identified by the President as part of Al Qaeda. In 2015, the President ordered new deployments to Iraq, and the Administration announced deployment of a small number of special operations forces to Syria to conduct military operations that involve advising regional partner armed forces but also can include unilateral U.S. operations. As military action against the Islamic State has evolved and increased, many observers, including a number of Members of Congress, have raised numerous questions and concerns about the Presidents authority to use military force against the Islamic State. Some efforts began near the end of the 113th Congress to consider enactment of a new authorization for use of military force targeting the Islamic State, and have continued into the 114th Congress the issue, however, remains contentious. The President provided Congress a new authorization proposal in February 2015, and recently has again called on Congress to enact a new authorization for use of military force AUMF targeting the Islamic State.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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