Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Of all the weapons the United States carries in its military arsenal, its most powerful might be the 2001 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The post-9/11 blank check to fight evildoers covers everything: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq-Syria, Syria, the other thing we’re doing in Syria now, and a bunch of stuff in between. Invocations of the AUMF have gotten so out of hand, according to some critics, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing today to determine if Congress should start slapping down the executive’s reliance on it.
Having trouble keeping track of everything the 2001 AUMF justifies? We’ve ranked all the conflicts in one easy post, with additional background for the instances that may be less familiar to you.
Behold, conflicts justified under the 2001 AUMF, ranked:
1. Combat action against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan
2. Conducting secure detention operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
3. Military operations in Iraq under the Multinational Force in Iraq
4. Offensive operations to deny the enemy territory on Alderaan
Rebel fighters rallied behind a tribal princess with proven connections to the outlawed Jedi paramilitary force and their royal financiers on Alderaan. Our justifiable preemptive strike led the rebels to execute their desperation attack and surprise victory in the Battle of Yavin. The Empire reserved the right under the original AUMF to broaden its strikes wherever the terrorists may seek refuge, and has done so with annexations of Hoth and the Cloud City systems, known rebellion strongholds.
The application of the 2001 AUMF to intergalactic rebels was controversial, since the rebellion occurred a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. But Imperial lawyers argue that the use of space-time disruptions for hyperspace travel has rendered moot the concept of absolute time with respect to legal authorizations of force.
- Foreign military training, advising, assisting in the Philippines
- Foreign military training and equipping in Georgia
- Foreign military training and equipping in Yemen
6. Operations to capture or kill NEXUS-6 N6MAA10816, aka ‘Roy Batty’
Politically sensitive operations to kill rogue replicants living among us have long been a national security priority for the United States government. N6MAA10816 was identified as a terrorist cell leader with sensitive knowledge of allied military vulnerabilities, particularly tactical capabilities of attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and the patterns of C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
AUMF permitted NORTHCOM to move quickly on this threat. Mission accomplished.
7. Deployment to Djibouti for activities against Al Qaeda and other terrorists in Horn of Africa
8. War of the Elves and Sauron
American military leadership made it clear that when One Ring emerged to rule them all, it could not fall into the hands of any state actor aligned with terror. Consequently, we partnered with an existing indigenous ground force of elves and other allied groups to oppose the dark army of Sauron.
After securing Gondor, the forces of men left behind a protectorate to guarantee self-rule in Middle Earth.
9. The Pushcart War
A homegrown cell of terrorists targeting commercial traffic in New York City was a worst-case scenario for the U.S. security establishment. Thanks to the AUMF and a timely suspension of posse comitatus, secure-and-hold operations proved highly successful in stopping the pea-shooter attacks on our brave convoy drivers.
10. Maritime interception operations on the high seas in the areas of responsibility of all of the geographic combatant commanders
11. Deployments to enhance counterterrorism capabilities of “friends and allies”
12. Battle of Hogwarts
The U.S. Department of Defense neither confirms nor denies the existence of wizardry. A classified annex to this report provides further information.
13. Bellum omnium contra omnes
Latin for “the war of all against all,” this is natural the state of human existence, absent a Leviathan to exercise violence against civilization’s discontents, according to Early Modern English political theorist Thomas Hobbes.
The AUMF establishes the legitimate use of U.S. force against these anti-coalition extremists wherever they may hide, ensuring that their lives are nasty, brutish, and short.
- Direct military action in Somalia against al Qaeda/al Shabab
- Deployment of combat aircraft and personnel to Turkey for anti-ISIL strikes
15. The Butter Battle
Tensions ran hot. Talks went to pot. When the Yooks and the Zooks built WMDs, tolerate it we could not.
16. Systematic campaign of airstrikes and other necessary actions against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) in Iraq and Syria
17. Ongoing operations to contain Eastasian expansion
We have always been at war with Eastasia. The AUMF merely codifies that.
18. Ongoing operations to contain Eurasian expansion
We have always been at war with Eurasia. The AUMF merely codifies that.
19 - 37. [Name withheld]
A sprawling new survey says a ‘culture of resilience’ helped US military families weather housing woes for years
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
EGLIN AFB — With gratitude for its seven years at Eglin and enthusiasm for the future in California, the Navy's first F-35C strike fighter squadron furled its flag in a Thursday morning ceremony.
The F-35C is the "carrier variant" version of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, designed specifically to operate from aircraft carriers.
"Today, we turn into the wind and launch on an aggressive path to deploy the F-35C," said Navy Capt. Max G. McCoy, commander of the Joint Strike Fighter Wing.
ABOARD THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT -- Loose lips sink ships, but do they reveal too much about the hugely anticipated "Top Gun" sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick," filmed onboard in February?
Not on this carrier, they don't. Although sailors here dropped a few hints about spotting movie stars around the ship as it was docked in San Diego for the film shoot, no cats — or Tomcats — were let out of the bag.
"I can't talk about that," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, who commands the Roosevelt.
Robots in the air, on the ocean surface and on the ground guarded British Royal Marines as they stormed a beach during an important April 2019 war game.
The ground robot, in particular, is a new capability for the Royal Marines. The gun- and rocket-armed, tank-like unmanned ground vehicle could boost the naval branch's firepower while helping to keep human beings out of harm's way.
Alpha Company of the Royal Marines' 40 Commando and their robot guardians stormed a beach in Cornwall in southwest England as part of Exercise Commando Warrior. The Royal Marines' 1 Assault Group supported the naval infantry.