DOD Leaders Urge AUMF Support

Senior defense leaders testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday urging support of President Obama’s proposed war authorization language for Operation Inherent Resolve. Secretary of State John Kerry said ISIS’s momentum in Iraq and Syria has diminished since OIR began eight months ago, and the group’s finances, infrastructure, and ability to project its forces has been cut back amid continued attacks. Bipartisan support of the Authorization for Use of Military Force will allow the effort to continue under guidelines shaped for the current fight, rather than the 2001 AUMF aimed at al Qaeda, he added. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the language provides the “necessary authority and flexibility” to wage the current campaign. He said the limitation on enduring ground options is included because the Administration does not think an Afghan-style counterinsurgency campaign will be necessary to defeat ISIS. Rather than adding large numbers of ground combat forces, US forces are serving as an “enabling force” to regional partners, which Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said will be key to defeating ISIS. (Kerry prepared testimony) (Carter written statement)