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Senate Panel Says It's Time For A New AUMF To Rein In Presidential War Power
WASHINGTON — As global threats to the United States escalate, Congress will need a new war authorization to remain relevant in current and future military engagements, a Senate panel said Wednesday.
The hearing was one in a series of committee hearings held in the last several months to re-examine, and potentially rein in, the president’s authority to use military force, or AUMF, powers.
On Wednesday, some lawmakers signaled President Donald Trump’s administration appears to be running amok as far as such war powers are concerned.
“The Trump national security team is greatly expanding the deployment of U.S. military forces on the ground worldwide with minimal congressional consultation, minimal buy-in from the American people… and minimal transparency,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the committee’s ranking Democrat.
The president’s current war powers were issued in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and 2002 when the United States went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs gave the president wide-ranging authority to direct the military to fight terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, the Taliban and Islamic State around the world.
Since that time, the military has operated under those authorizations in more than a dozen countries.
“We need to write new (war) authorization … to make legal for Congress to weigh in on what the administration is already doing, to make us relevant,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the committee chairman. “It’s kind of an odd thing.”
Concern about the current war authorizations has been debated for years, but it has reached a fevered pitch in recent months in light of recent, deadly military encounters, such as the attack in Niger on Nov. 4 that left four soldiers dead, and the rising tensions with North Korea.
Trump “might even seek a nuclear-first strike, …and we would have to rely on the strength, character and bravery of those with the military responsibility for carrying out that attack to question its legality,” Cardin said about North Korea. “We have a president who has a reckless self-confidence of his own instincts and makes decisions without relying on his own advisers.”
Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser for former President George W. Bush, testified Wednesday that the White House and Congress should already be in talks to address the North Korea military strategy, if one is to be executed.
“The North Korea situation is so grave that Congress and the president should be having conversations now, and continuing,” he said.
Hadley and John Bellinger III, former national security council attorney for the Bush administration, agreed Congress could preempt presidential military action against North Korea by issuing a new war authority and setting parameters for any potential encounter.
“The war powers resolution is outdated,” Bellinger said. “And it should be revised.”
But how the war authorizations should be revised remains a question.
A slew of House and Senate members have proposed a variety of approaches, as less than one-third of the Congress serving today was involved in the current war authorizations.
Among the proposals, some lawmakers have said it’s time to replace the president’s war powers with one that has time or geographical limits.
Still, Christine Wormuth, former undersecretary of defense for policy for former President Barack Obama, warned transparency remains critical, especially as the military effort expands around the world.
“I personally worry that the U.S. military has been carrying a very heavy burden for many years now,” she said. “And that an imbalance has crept into how we address foreign policy challenges.”
©2017 the Stars and Stripes
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A former Fort Bliss solider stood bruised and badly injured in court Thursday as he pleaded guilty to cutting the throat of another soldier during a 2017 drug robbery.
Zachary Johnston, who appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles around his ankles, pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser count of murder as part of a plea agreement with state prosecutors.
He also appeared in court with two black eyes, bruises and cuts all over his face after he was involved in a jailhouse fight.
Johnston was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in connection with the brutal slaying of Tyler Kaden Croke, 23, on May 7, 2017, during a drug robbery at the Cantera Apartments in East El Paso. Croke, 23, was in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Saudi ambassador to the United States visited a U.S. naval air station in Florida on Thursday to extend her condolences for a shooting attack by a Saudi Air Force officer that killed three people last week, the Saudi embassy said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Thursday tested a conventionally configured ground-launched ballistic missile, a test that would have been prohibited under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
The United States formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 INF pact with Russia in August after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.
The Taliban may not have breached the walls of Bagram, but they damaged the hell out of its main passenger terminal
Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.
The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
A retired Navy SEAL running for Congress wore a U.S. Navy dress white uniform at a recent campaign event, Business Insider has learned.
Republican candidate Floyd McLendon of Texas spoke to an audience at his campaign kick-off event in November, wearing the Navy uniform adorned with numerous medals — including what appeared to be the Navy SEAL Trident, the insignia reserved for members of the elite community like McLendon.
The inaugural event in Dallas was held in the 30th congressional district, a different district than the one McLendon is running in. Political strategists in Texas described the venue's location as highly unusual for a House candidate.