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A new authorization for use of military force against the Islamic State: comparison of current proposals in brief.

November 6, 2014
Contents

The IS Crisis and the U.S. Response

Presidential Authority to Use Military Force Against the Islamic
State
   2001 Post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force
   2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq
   Presidential Authority Under Article II of the Constitution

Calls for a New AUMF Targeting the Islamic State

Current IS AUMF Proposals
   Scope of Force and Military Activities Authorized
      Targeted Entities
      Purpose of Authorization
      Conditions on Use of Military Force
      Limitations on Use of Military Force
      Repeal of Previous AUMFs
      Reporting and Certification Requirements
      War Powers Resolution and Expedited Consideration Provisions

Tables

Table 1. Proposed Authorizations to Use Force Against the Islamic State

Table 2. Proposed Authorizations for Use of Military Force Against
the Islamic State

Contacts

Author Contact Information


The IS Crisis and the U.S. Response

The armed offensive of the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS) in northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria has 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.

Presidential Authority to Use Military Force Against the Islamic State (1)

The President in his August 2014 notifications to Congress of deployments and airstrikes in Iraq indicated his powers as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive under Article II of the Constitution gave him authority to undertake such action. Obama Administration officials and the President's September 2014 notifications (2) to Congress for airstrikes and other actions in Iraq and Syria, however, stated that two enacted authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs), the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001 AUMF; P.L. 107-40), and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (2002 AUMF; P.L. 107-243), provide authorization for certain U.S. military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Khorasan Group of Al Qaeda in Syria. Most recently, the President on November 5, 2014, indicated that he intends to enter into discussions with congressional leaders to develop a new AUMF specifically targeting the Islamic State, in order to "right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights" authorized by the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. (3)

2001 Post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force

In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the AUMF authorizing the President to use military force against "those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons...." Although the Islamic State does not appear to fall within that language, it is possible that the executive branch regards it as one of the "associated forces" fighting alongside Al Qaeda and the Taliban that it asserts are also targetable under the 2001 AUMF. (4) The Obama Administration had stated previous to the latest action against the Islamic State and the Khorasan Group that it will use force against such associated forces under the 2001 AUMF only when they are lawful military targets that "pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons...." Due to Al Qaeda's February 2014 disavowal of any remaining ties with the Islamic State, some question whether the Islamic State can be considered an associated force under the 2001 AUMF. The Obama Administration has stated that the Islamic State can be targeted under the 2001 AUMF because its predecessor organization, Al Qaeda in Iraq, communicated and coordinated with Al Qaeda; the Islamic State currently has ties with Al Qaeda fighter and operatives; the Islamic State employs tactics similar to Al Qaeda; and the Islamic State, with its intentions of creating a new Islamic caliphate, is the "true inheritor of Osama bin Laden's legacy." (5)

2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq

Congress enacted the 2002 AUMF prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that toppled the government of Saddam Hussein, with U.S. military deployments to and operations in Iraq continuing until December 2011. The 2002 AUMF authorizes the President to use U.S. Armed Forces to enforce relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq...." Although the 2002 AUMF has no sunset provision and Congress has not repealed it, one view is that after the establishment of a new Iraqi government, the restoration of full Iraqi sovereignty, and the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the 2002 AUMF no longer has force. Obama Administration officials have recently voiced support for repealing the 2002 AUMF, reflecting the Administration's belief that it is no longer needed. Conversely, another view asserts that, although its preamble focuses on the Saddam Hussein regime and its WMD programs, the 2002 AUMF's authorization language is broad, referring only to a "continuing threat" from Iraq, and that the 2002 AUMF could provide authority to defend against threats to Iraq as well as threats posed by Iraq. Indeed, 2002 AUMF authority was the basis for the U.S. military presence in Iraq from the fall of Saddam Hussein and completion of the WMD search to its 2011 withdrawal, a span of over eight years, a period that could be characterized as dealing with threats to Iraq rather than threats from Iraq. The IS threat in Iraq could therefore be seen as breathing new life into 2002 AUMF authority. In addition, former supporters of Saddam Hussein reportedly provide support to the Islamic State, possibly forming a link between the original aims of the 2002 AUMF and any future actions taken against the Islamic State.

Presidential Authority Under Article II of the Constitution

Article II of the Constitution makes the President Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and gives the President certain foreign affairs powers. It is debated to what extent Article II authorizes the President to unilaterally use military force, especially given Congress's Article I war powers, including the power to declare war. The President's authority to use force to defend the United States, its personnel, and citizens against ongoing or imminent attack has been generally accepted, while employing such force simply to further foreign policy or general national security goals is more controversial. In Iraq, the President would seem to have substantial authority to use force to defend U.S. personnel, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and any other U.S. facilities and property. His August 2014 notifications of airstrikes in Iraq, however, have also cited as justification furthering U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and have described uses of force to provide humanitarian assistance, and to aid Iraqi security forces in their fight against the Islamic State. In addition, the President's stated strategy for degrading and destroying the Islamic State, as well as his September 2014 notifications to Congress of airstrikes and other actions in Iraq and Syria, are not based primarily on immediate protection of the United States, its personnel, or citizens. Thus, it can be argued that Article II alone might not provide sufficient authorization for the use of military force against IS and Khorasan Group forces in Iraq and Syria.

Calls for a New AUMF Targeting the Islamic State

Although the Obama Administration has claimed 2001 AUMF and 2002 AUMF authority for its recent and future actions against the Islamic State, it might be argued that these authorizations do not apply, and that these actions also fall outside the President's Article II powers. Concerned with Congress's constitutional role in the exercise of the war power, perceived presidential overreach in that area of constitutional powers, and the President's expansion of the use of military force in Iraq and Syria, several Members of Congress have expressed the view that continued use of military force against the Islamic State requires congressional authorization. Members differ on whether such authorization is needed, given existing authorities, or whether such a measure should be enacted. As mentioned above, President Obama has stated that he would seek to come to agreement with congressional leaders on a new AUMF targeting the Islamic State, bolstering calls from Congress for such new authorization.

Language in a new AUMF targeting the Islamic State and other groups (IS AUMF) could either broaden the purpose of military force to include unspecified U.S. national security interests, or narrow the scope of authorization to specific objectives related to the Administration's stated goal of "degrading and ultimately destroying" the Islamic State. Congress could limit the IS AUMF's geographic scope, authorizing force only in Iraq and/or Syria. With continued uncertainty surrounding the Iraqi government, Congress might include authorization to use U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq in furtherance of political stability objectives. Provisions in any IS AUMF targeting the Islamic State might address the possible effect that targeting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq could have on the ongoing conflict in Syria. Congress might also include a prohibition on the use of appropriated funds for the use of military force outside the scope of the specified authorization.

Current IS AUMF Proposals (6)

In September 2014, a number of Members proposed several new authorizations to use military force against the Islamic State:
Table 1. Proposed Authorizations to Use Force Against the Islamic State

Bill or        Title
Resolution

H.R. 5415      Authorization for Use of Military Force against
               International Terrorism Act

H.J.Res. 123   Authorization for the Use of Military Force
               Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the
               Levant (ISIL)

S.J.Res. 42    Authorization for Use of Military Force against
               the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

S.J.Res. 43    Authorization for Use of Force Against the
               Organization Called the Islamic State

S.J.Res. 44    Authorization for Use of Military Force against
               the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

H.J.Res. 125   Authorization for Use of Military Force Against
               ISIL Resolution

H.J.Res. 128   Authorization for Use of Military Force Against
               ISIL Resolution

Bill or        Sponsor                       Date Introduced
Resolution

H.R. 5415      Representative Frank Wolf     September 8, 2014

H.J.Res. 123   Representative Darrell Issa   September 8, 2014

S.J.Res. 42    Senator Bill Nelson           September 8, 2014

S.J.Res. 43    Senator James Inhofe          September 8, 2014

S.J.Res. 44    Senator Tim Kaine             September 8, 2014

H.J.Res. 125   Representative Adam Schiff    September 16, 2014

H.J.Res. 128   Representative John Larson    September 19, 2014

Note: As of the date of this report, each proposal
has been referred to either the House Foreign Affairs
Committee or Senate Foreign Relations Committee, except
H.J.Res. 128, which is before both the House Foreign
Affairs and House Rules Committees.


None of these proposals have received any formal action from their assigned committees. Each of these proposals, therefore, could be subjected to amendment in committee or on the floor. In addition, each of these proposals or similar provisions to authorize use of military force might be included as amendments to other pending bills, including the Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 4435), which is currently pending in the Senate.

The President's recent statement that he would enter into discussions with congressional leaders on enacting a new AUMF targeting the Islamic State might affect future congressional action on any of these proposals. Although one of the current IS AUMF proposals might be adopted as the vehicle for any congressional-executive agreement on authorization, it is not clear what authorization language might be proposed by the executive branch in its discussions with congressional leaders, possibly requiring significant changes to existing proposals or the introduction of a new IS AUMF. In addition, a number of the current proposals contain provisions to limit presidential authority to use military force against the Islamic State as to scope and duration, and in some cases to sunset or repeal the existing authority in the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. The Administration might seek to roll back such restrictions to ensure the maximum authority for the President to carry out the military campaign against the Islamic State "not just ... over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward." (7) Although the President indicated that discussions with congressional leaders on this issue would begin in November 2014, he stated that the process involved with a new IS AUMF may carry over into the 114th Congress. (8)

Scope of Force and Military Activities Authorized

All but one of the currently proposed IS AUMFs are substantially similar in their description of the scope of authorized force, stating that the President is authorized to use "necessary and appropriate force." Two of the proposals grant the President the authority to determine what type and degree of force is necessary and appropriate, while four others state that "necessary and appropriate force" is authorized, without stating who is authorized to make such a determination. H.J.Res. 125 does not limit the scope of the use of force in this way, however, stating that the President is authorized to "use the Armed Forces of the United States," without requiring such use of force to be "necessary and appropriate" as determined by the President or otherwise. While it might be expected that the President, as Commander in Chief, will make the "necessary and appropriate" determination in all cases regardless, explicitly granting the President that role in the authorization might preclude congressional challenges to presidential decision making after an authorization is enacted.

S.J.Res. 44 also specifies the scope of military activities authorized and the objective of those activities. Under this proposed IS AUMF, the President is authorized "to participate in a campaign of airstrikes ... to degrade and defeat ISIL...." Coupled with a general prohibition against the President's use of ground troops against the Islamic State, this provision might be effective in preventing expansion of the military activities that the President might utilize against IS forces.

Targeted Entities

Each of the proposed IS AUMFs identifies the Islamic State (using that moniker or one of the ISIS/ISIL aliases) as the target of authorized U.S. military force. S.J.Res. 43 specifies "ISIL" but also "any successor organization" to the Islamic State. S.J.Res. 44 extends the authorization to IS-associated forces, subject to the President's identification of such groups to Congress through a certification process set out in the resolution. While these provisions seem straightforwardly effective in ensuring they authorize force against the Islamic State, they might be considered less than sufficient in their coverage of the overall situation in Iraq and Syria. In late September, President Obama notified Congress of strikes against IS forces in Syria, but also made a separate notification of airstrikes in that country against the "Khorasan Group," identified by the President as part of Al Qaeda. If Congress intends to enact an AUMF to direct the President to conduct military activities in Iraq and Syria, it might craft authorization language that can encompass nonIS associated groups, of which the Khorasan group might be an example. On the other hand, Congress might choose to deliberately exclude such groups from a new authorization. H.R. 5415 includes the Islamic State as a target, but also covers a number of other named terrorist groups and expansive categories of terrorist threats. The lawful targets of the bill include
   those countries, organizations, or persons associated with or
   supporting terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and its regional
   affiliates, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, al Shabaab, Boko
   Haram, and any other emerging regional terrorist groups that share
   a common violent extremist ideology with such terrorist groups,
   regional affiliates, or emerging terrorist groups....


This broad language would significantly expand the authorized use of military force not only with regard to the current crisis with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but also in terms of U.S. counterterrorism activities worldwide. The authorization seems to include every state, other entity, or person that is part of or supporting a terrorist group, authorizing use of U.S. Armed Forces against each. In this regard, H.R. 5415 would seem to essentially serve as an expansive replacement for the authorities in the 2001 AUMF, delinking U.S. military action from the September 11, 2001, attacks that serve as some limitation on the use of military force in that earlier authorization.

Purpose of Authorization

Most of the proposed IS AUMFs state that their purpose, at least in part, is to "defend the national security of the United States" against the Islamic State. Some of these proposals include additional elements, however, that expand the purpose past U.S. national security. S.J.Res. 44, for example, states that the authorization is also intended to protect the United States and "other countries" from terrorist attacks. Should the Islamic State expand its operations or shift its tactics toward an expansive transnational terrorist agenda, such authorization could prove to be far reaching. S.J.Res. 44 also authorizes the use of force to "protect individuals from acts of violence in clear contravention of international law and basic human rights...." Read as an additional purpose to authorize the use of military force against IS forces, this language might be read to allow the President to use U.S. Armed Forces to fight the Islamic State even in cases where the United States is not facing a threat to its security. If the additional language were interpreted to be a second purpose, the authorization could be read to include military action against actors other than the Islamic State in order to stop human rights violations, greatly increasing the scope of the authorization.

Another proposal, S.J.Res. 42, does not include the "defend the national security" language, instead stating the authorization's purpose is "to prevent terrorist attacks on the people and interests of the United States and our allies." While the focus on the prevention of terrorist attacks is arguably more limited than a general protection of undefined national security interests, the inclusion of protecting of U.S. "interests" and allies generally from such attacks could be seen as broadening the authorization beyond the "U.S. national security" language of other proposals. Limiting the purpose to preventing terrorist attacks also might narrow the authorization insofar as it would not necessarily include a broader purpose to "defeat" the Islamic State completely or stop the Islamic State's ability to operate in a non-ally state such as Syria. H.R. 5415 has similar purpose language to that of S.J.Res. 42, but also states it is also the authorization's purpose "to eliminate" a wide range of terrorist groups (explained in the "Targeted Entities" section, above). This purpose language, therefore, might not require a known threat to the United States or its allies prior to the President using military force against a terrorist group. Criteria for assessing the "defeat" or "elimination" of targeted entities are not included.

Conditions on Use of Military Force

Three of the proposals include authorization language that states the President has authority to use military force when the United States is part of an effort by the broader international community, or part thereof, to meet the threat posed by the Islamic State. H.R. 5415 states that the President may use military force "with the close consultation, coordination, and cooperation with NATO and regional allies...." S.J.Res. 44 authorizes the President to use military force "as part of a multinational coalition...." H.J.Res. 128 includes two authorizing provisions, one of which seems to be intended to operate when the U.N. Security Council has passed a resolution authorizing its membership to use force against the Islamic State. Although each of these proposals seems to indicate an intent to ensure the United States does not use military force without international support, it is difficult to say whether the language might strictly require such multilateral action, or to what extent cooperation and coordinated action with other nations might be required.

Limitations on Use of Military Force

The proposed IS AUMFs contain a number of provisions intended to limit the authority to use military force. Some of the proposals include language excluding the deployment of U.S. ground troops from the President's authority, except for certain types of military units or to carry out certain activities. These proposals include language excluding authority for "deployment of ground forces in a combat role," "Armed Forces in direct combat operations," "rotational ground forces," or "United States ground combat forces." Each of these descriptions might be interpreted to affect the President's authority differently. Excluding deployment of ground forces "in a combat role" might be more restrictive than excluding forces that engage in "direct combat operations," as there might be combat roles for U.S. Armed Forces that do not fall within the interpretation of the term "direct." A number of types of ground combat forces might also fall outside the definition of "rotational" ground forces. These differences in language might result in authorizations with limitations on presidential authority of varied effectiveness. In addition, two of the proposed IS AUMFs provide exceptions to the limitation on ground troops. H.J.Res. 125 would allow deployment of ground troops that are "special operations forces" or forces "deployed in a training, advisory, or intelligence capacity." While these exceptions might still exclude most U.S. Armed Forces units from deployment under the proposed AUMF, the overall number of troops that could be deployed under the exceptions could be sizeable, and their roles could place them in harm's way in many cases. S.J.Res. 44 also includes exceptions to the ban on ground troops, allowing deployments for military assistance and training, protection or rescue of U.S. Armed Forces or citizens, and "limited operations against high value targets."

H.J.Res. 125 and S.J.Res. 44 also include geographic limitations to their respective overall authority to use military force. Both limit that authority to Iraq and Syria. (9) In light of the Islamic State's expansive ambitions and operations close to the borders of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and potentially other countries, such language could prove more restrictive in an evolving conflict than might be initially assumed. In the context of implementation of recent AUMFs, especially the 2001 AUMF, such limitations seem to be important, as successive Presidents have interpreted the 2001 AUMF to allow for use of military force in multiple countries that might not have been contemplated when Congress enacted the original authorization. S.J.Res. 44 also limits any use of force against IS associated forces, stating that there is no authority to use force against those forces unless the President identifies such forces in periodic reports to Congress. Again, this seems to be a response to the executive branch's implementation of the 2001 AUMF; both President Bush and Obama have independently interpreted that authority to extend to associated forces that are "co-belligerents" with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, including forces in multiple countries outside the original target of U.S. military action, Afghanistan.

Five of the proposed IS AUMFs include a provision that automatically terminates their respective authorizations after a certain period of time, with sunset provisions of 120 days, one year, 18 months, two years, and three years.

S.J.Res. 44 also includes an interpretive provision, stating that its authorization should not be construed as "authorizing support for force in support of, or in cooperation with, the national government of Syria ... or its security services.... "

Repeal of Previous AUMFs

Four of the proposals would repeal the 2002 AUMF authorizing the use of military force against Iraq. Two of these four, H.J.Res. 125 and H.J.Res. 128, would also repeal the 2001 AUMF with a delay, with repeal taking effect 18 months and two years after enactment, respectively. The Obama Administration had recently adopted the position both that the 2002 AUMF could be repealed without detriment to U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. interests, and that the 2001 AUMF could be amended or repealed once the planned U.S. Armed Forces withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed and a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan is finalized. (10) These repeal provisions seem to generally correspond with these recent Administration positions. Recent statements by the Obama Administration and the President's September 23, 2014, notification to Congress of strikes against IS forces, however, indicate that the President considers the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs as authority to conduct a military campaign against the Islamic State as well as other Al Qaeda-related groups. Given this presidential application of existing AUMFs, the repeal provisions might take on the role of repudiating the President's positions on his existing authority to use military force against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Repeal of these AUMFs could be seen as an indication that Congress disagrees with the President's interpretation of his existing authorities to use force and that it intends to replace his existing authority with a possibly narrower authority in an IS AUMF.

Reporting and Certification Requirements

Five of the proposed IS AUMFs require presidential reporting to Congress to include various information, including

* the Administration's strategy for military action against the Islamic State and in Iraq and Syria generally, and implementation of or changes to the strategy;

* the status of military actions taken under a given authorization;

* descriptions of plans for further military action, as well as redeployment of U.S. Armed Forces after military action is completed;

* expenditures made pursuant to the authorization, or the budgetary effects of military action taken; and

* the status and actions of any multinational coalition cooperating with the United States to engage the Islamic State and other groups militarily.

S.J.Res. 44 requires the President to report to Congress every 90 days on his identification of IS associated forces in order to gain the authority to use military force against such associated forces. In order for the President to have authority to use military force without a relevant U.N. Security Council resolution, H.J.Res. 128 requires the President to certify that the United States sought approval of such a resolution, that the Security Council is unlikely to approve such a resolution, and that the President has instead sought to build a broad coalition of nations to counter the IS threat.

War Powers Resolution and Expedited Consideration Provisions

Each of the proposals states that its respective provision authorizing the use of military force is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of Section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (WPR; PL. 93-148; 50 U.S.C. [section][section]1541-1548). Section 5(b) of the WPR states that the President shall withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from active or imminent hostilities within 60 days after a presidential notification of the introduction of U.S. Armed Forces into such hostilities is made or is required to be made under Section 4(a)(1) of the WPR, unless Congress has enacted a declaration of war or authorization to use military force, among other exceptions. The statement that these proposals are intended to act as authorization under the WPR might indicate Congress's desire to approve the President's current military actions, within the scope and limitations explained above. Although the President ordered the first airstrikes against IS forces in early August, there does not seem to be clear consensus among experts or Members of Congress on when the 60-day period began running, and whether it is running currently. The President's reliance on the existing AUMFs to conduct military operations against the Islamic State and other groups in Iraq and Syria, if accepted by Congress, would have stopped any running of the 60-day clock, whether or not a new IS AUMF is enacted, as there would be existing congressional authorization for his actions.

Section 6 of the WPR provides for expedited consideration of legislative proposals introduced in accordance with Section 5(b); it is not apparent that any of the current IS AUMF proposals are currently being subjected to these expedited procedures. Although the WPR sets out these procedures in legislation, such procedural provisions do not take precedence over the rulemaking and procedural prerogatives of either house of Congress, and each house maintains the authority to enforce its own rules at its discretion. (11) H.J.Res. 128 sets out its own procedures for expedited consideration of a further resolution authorizing military force against the Islamic State, if such resolution meets H.J.Res. 128's definition of a "qualified resolution." The process is described in Table 2 below, in the "Expedited Consideration" section.

(1) For more information and analysis of the IS crisis, the U.S. response, presidential authority to use military force, and the operation of the War Powers Resolution in this situation, see CRS Report RL33487, Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response, coordinated by Christopher M. Blanchard; CRS Insight IN10147, Considerations for Possible Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State, by Matthew C. Weed; and CRS Report R43720, U.S. Military Action Against the Islamic State: Answers to Frequently Asked Legal Questions, by Michael John Garcia and Jennifer K. Elsea.

Another proposal, H.J.Res. 127, introduced September 8, 2014, would recognize a state of war exists between the United States and the Islamic State, and authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State and associated forces.

(2) Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/letter-president-war-powers-resolutionregarding-iraq; http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/letter-president-war-powers-resolutionregarding-syria.

(3) President Barack Obama, remarks at a press conference, November 5, 2014, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pressoffice/2014/11/05/remarks-president-press-conference.

(4) Testimony of Stephen W. Preston, General Counsel, Department of Defense, before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, hearing on the Authorization for Use of Military Force, 113th Cong., 2nd sess., May 21, 2014, http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Preston_Testimony.pdf.

(5) White House, "Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest," press release, September 11,2014, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/11/press-briefmg-press-secretary-josh-earnest-9112014.

(6) This section does not include proposals introduced earlier in the 113th Congress that would, for example, repeal existing AUMFs or express a sense-of-Congress about military action in Iraq and/or Syria.

(7) President Barack Obama, remarks at a press conference, November 5, 2014, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pressoffice/2014/11/05/remarks-president-press-conference.

(8) Ibid.

(9) H.J.Res. 125 states that the limitation does not apply to foreign military training, although this type of activity would not be expected to raise questions concerning the authority to use military force.

(10) See testimony of Mary McLeod and Stephen Preston, U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, hearing on Authorization for Use of Military Force, 113th Cong., 2nd sess., May 21, 2014.

(11) For more information, see CRS Report 98-888, "Fast-Track" or Expedited Procedures: Their Purposes, Elements, and Implications, by Christopher M. Davis; CRS Report RS20234, Expedited or "Fast-Track" Legislative Procedures, by Christopher M. Davis; CRS Report RL30599, Expedited Procedures in the House: Variations Enacted Into Law, by Christopher M. Davis.

Author Contact Information

Matthew C. Weed

Analyst in Foreign Policy Legislation

mweed@crs.loc.gov, 7-4589
Table 2. Proposed Authorizations for Use of Military
Force Against the Islamic State

Comparison of Similar Provisions (as of October 20, 2014)

Provision          H.R. 5415       H.J.Res. 123      H.J.Res. 125

Scope of        "The President    "The President    "The President
authorized      is                is authorized     is authorized
force           authorized ...    to use the        to use the
                To use all        Armed Forces of   Armed Forces of
                necessary and     the United        the United
                appropriate       States as the     States"
                force"            President
                                  determines to
                                  be necessary
                                  and
                                  appropriate"

International   "with the close   none specified    none specified
conditions      consultation,
for use of      coordination,
force           and cooperation
                with NATO and
                regional
                allies"

Types of        none specified    none specified    none specified
military
action
authorized

Target of use   "those            "Islamic State    "Islamic State
of military     countries,        of Iraq and the   of Iraq and the
force           organizations,    Levant (ISIL)"    Levant (ISIL)"
                or persons
                associated with
                or supporting
                terrorist
                groups,
                including al
                Qaeda and its
                regional
                affiliates, the
                Islamic State
                of Iraq and
                Syria, al
                Shabaab, Boko
                Haram, and any
                other emerging
                regional
                terrorist
                groups that
                share a common
                violent
                extremist
                ideology with
                such terrorist
                groups,
                regional
                affiliates, or
                emerging
                terrorist
                groups"

Purpose         "to eliminate     "to defend the    none specified
                all such          national
                terrorist         security of the
                groups and        United States
                prevent any       against the
                future acts of    continuing
                international     threat posed
                terrorism         by the Islamic
                against the       State of Iraq
                United States     and the Levant
                or its allies     (ISIL)"
                by such
                terrorist
                groups,
                countries,
                organization,
                or persons"

Geographic      none specified    none specified    "authority ...
limitation                                          shall be
                                                    confined to the
                                                    territory of
                                                    the Republic of
                                                    Iraq and the
                                                    Syrian Arab
                                                    Republic"
                                                    Limitation does
                                                    not apply to
                                                    foreign
                                                    military
                                                    training
                                                    activities

Military unit   none specified    none specified    "does not
limitation                                          include the
                                                    authority for
                                                    the deployment
                                                    of ground
                                                    forces in a
                                                    combat role"

                                                    Limitation does
                                                    not apply to
                                                    "special
                                                    operations
                                                    forces or other
                                                    forces that may
                                                    be deployed in
                                                    a training,
                                                    advisory, or
                                                    intelligence
                                                    capacity"

Targeting       none specified    none specified    none specified
associated
forces
limitation

Government of   none              none              none
Syria
limitation

Sunset          none              120 days after    18 months after
                                  date of           date of
                                  enactment         enactment

AUMF Repeal     none              Resolution        Resolution
                                  would repeal      would repeal
                                  2002 AUMF         2002 AUMF
                                                    immediately,
                                                    and repeal the
                                                    2001 AUMF
                                                    18 months after
                                                    date of
                                                    enactment

Reporting/      none              Not later than    "The President
Certification                     60 days after     shall, at least
                                  enactment,        once every
                                  President is      60 days" after
                                  required to       enactment,
                                  report on         report on
                                  "status of all    relevant
                                  actions taken";   matters
                                  "description of   including
                                  all proposed      actions taken
                                  actions";         and planned
                                  "status of        actions under
                                  engagement of     the
                                  allies of the     authorization
                                  United States
                                  and
                                  international
                                  coalitions in
                                  combating"
                                  ISIL; and
                                  "estimated
                                  budgetary
                                  effects of
                                  actions
                                  proposed"

Consultation    none specified    none specified    none specified

War Powers      Bill states       Resolution        Resolution
Resolution      authorization     states            states
                section is        authorization     authorization
                "intended to      section is        section is
                constitute        "intended to      "intended to
                specific          constitute        constitute
                statutory         specific          specific
                authorization     statutory         statutory
                within the        authorization     authorization
                meaning of        within the        within the
                section 5(b)      meaning of        meaning of
                of the War        section 5(b)      section 5(b)
                Powers            of the War        of the War
                Resolution"       Powers            Powers
                                  Resolution"       Resolution"

Expedited       none              none              none
Consideration

                                         H.J.Res. 128 (a)
                  H.J.Res. 128 (a)         without U.N.
                 with U.N. Security      Security Council
Provision        Council Resolution         Resolution

Scope of        "The President is      Same, except subject
authorized      authorized to use      to conditions (see
force           the United States      Reporting/
                Armed Forces as the    Certification row,
                President determines   below) and enactment
                to be necessary and    of a second joint
                appropriate"           resolution under
                                       expedited procedures

International   U.N. Security          No U.N. Security
conditions      Council resolution     Council resolution
for use of      authorizing use of     authorizing use of
force           force against ISIL     force against ISIL

Types of        none specified
military
action
authorized

Target of use   "Islamic State of      "Islamic State of
of military     Iraq and the Levant    Iraq and the Levant
force           ('ISIL')"              ('ISIL')"

Purpose         "to ... defend the     "to defend the
                national security of   national security of
                the United States      the United States
                against the Islamic    against the Islamic
                State of Iraq and      State of Iraq and
                the Levant ('ISIL');   the Levant ('ISIL')"
                and enforce a United
                Nations Security
                Council resolution"
                that authorizes a
                multilateral
                coalition to take
                several types of
                action against ISIL

Geographic      none specified
limitation

Military unit   none specified         use of U.S. Armed
limitation                             Forces authorized
                                       "other than the use
                                       of such Armed Forces
                                       in direct ground
                                       combat operations"

Targeting       none specified
associated
forces
limitation

Government of   none
Syria
limitation

Sunset          2 years

AUMF Repeal     Resolution would repeal 2002
                AUMF immediately, and repeal the 2001
                AUMF 18 months after date of enactment

Reporting/      none specified         President must
Certification                          certify that the
                                       United States has
                                       sought, but the
                                       United Nations
                                       Security Council
                                       has not approved,
                                       a resolution
                                       authorizing the use
                                       of force, and is
                                       unlikely to; and
                                       that the President
                                       has sought to build
                                       a broad
                                       international
                                       coalition to counter
                                       ISIL

                                       President must
                                       present a strategy
                                       for use of military
                                       force against ISIL

                In both cases, every 60 days the President
                must report on uses of lethal force and
                their circumstances, civilian casualties
                resulting from such use of force, estimate
                of expenditures resulting from the use of
                force, and planning for redeployment of
                U.S. Armed Forces after military action
                against ISIL is completed

Consultation    "The President shall consult on a regular
                basis with the congressional committees of
                jurisdiction to provide updated information
                on actions being taken pursuant to this
                joint resolution in either public or closed
                sessions"

War Powers      (in both cases) Resolution states that
Resolution      authorization sections are "intended to
                constitute specific authorization within
                the meaning of section 5(b) of the War
                Powers Resolution"

Expedited       none                   Provides expedited
Consideration                          consideration for a
                                       second resolution,
                                       if such resolution
                                       is introduced by the
                                       majority or minority
                                       leader in the House
                                       or Senate within the
                                       next legislative day
                                       after a required
                                       Presidential
                                       certification is
                                       submitted In both
                                       houses, second
                                       resolution is to be
                                       placed on the
                                       calendar, considered
                                       within one
                                       legislative day,
                                       debated for a
                                       maximum of 20 hours,
                                       and voted upon
                                       immediately
                                       following debate;
                                       passage of
                                       resolution in one
                                       chamber requires
                                       immediate action
                                       by the second
                                       chamber on the
                                       resolution received

Provision            S.J.Res. 42             S.J.Res. 43

Scope of        "The President is        "the President is
authorized      authorized to use        authorized to use
force           appropriate force"       all necessary and

International   none specified           none specified
conditions
for use of
force

Types of        none specified           none specified
military
action
authorized

Target of use   "Islamic State of        "Islamic State
of military     Iraq and the Levant      (or "IS"), formally
force           (ISIL)"                  known as the Islamic
                                         State of Iraq and
                                         the Levant, as well
                                         as any successor
                                         organization"

Purpose         "to prevent terrorist    "to defend the
                attacks on the people    national security of
                and interests of the     the United States
                United States and our    against the threat
                allies"                  posed by the
                                         organization called
                                         the Islamic State
                                         (or 'IS'), formally
                                         known as the Islamic
                                         State of Iraq and
                                         the Levant, as well
                                         as any successor
                                         organization"

Geographic      none specified           none specified
limitation

Military unit   "does not include        none specified
limitation      authorization for
                the use of
                rotational ground
                forces"

Targeting       none specified           none specified
associated
forces
limitation

Government of   none                     none
Syria
limitation

Sunset          3 years after date       none
                of enactment

AUMF Repeal     none                     none

Reporting/      none                     Not later than 15
Certification                            days after
                                         enactment, President
                                         is required to
                                         submit comprehensive
                                         strategy to defeat
                                         the Islamic State;
                                         not later than 90
                                         days after the first
                                         report is required,
                                         President must
                                         report on
                                         implementation of
                                         the strategy; any
                                         substantive change
                                         to strategy requires
                                         an immediate
                                         additional report

Consultation    none specified           none specified

War Powers      Resolution states        Resolution states
Resolution      authorization            authorization
                section is "intended     section is "intended
                to constitute            to constitute
                specific statutory       specific statutory
                authorization within     authorization within
                the meaning of           the meaning of
                section 5(b) of the      section 5(b) of the
                War Powers               War Powers
                Resolution"              Resolution"

Expedited       none                     none
Consideration

Provision            S.J.Res. 44

Scope of        "the President is
authorized      authorized ... To
force           use all necessary
                and appropriate
                force"

International   "as part of a
conditions      multinational
for use of      coalition"
force

Types of        "to participate in a
military        campaign of
action          airstrikes in Iraq,
authorized      and if the President
                deems necessary, in
                Syria, to degrade
                and defeat ISIL"

                The resolution
                would also authorize
                the President to
                "provide military
                equipment and
                training to forces
                fighting ISIL in
                Iraq or Syria"

Target of use   "Islamic State in
of military     Iraq and the Levant
force           (ISIL)", as well as
                ISIL-associated
                forces, subject to
                requirements in
                Section 4 (see
                below)

Purpose         "to protect the
                United States and
                other countries from
                terrorist attacks by
                the Islamic State in
                Iraq and the Levant
                (ISIL), and in order
                to protect
                individuals from
                acts of violence in
                clear contravention
                of international law
                and basic human
                rights"

Geographic      Authorization
limitation      applies to Iraq and
                Syria

Military unit   "does not include ...
limitation      use of United States
                ground combat
                forces, except for
                [military assistance
                and training] or as
                necessary for the
                protection or rescue
                of members of the
                United States Armed
                Forces or United
                States citizens...,
                or for limited
                operations against
                high value targets"

Targeting       "does not include ...
associated      authorization for the
forces          use of force against
limitation      forces associated
                with ISIL, unless
                such forces are
                identified in a
                report submitted
                under section 4" of
                the resolution.

Government of   "Nothing in this
Syria           resolution shall be
limitation      construed as ...
                authorizing support
                for force in support
                of, or in cooperation
                with, the national
                government of Syria
                ... or its security
                services"

Sunset          1 year from date of
                enactment

AUMF Repeal     Resolution would
                repeal 2002 AUMF

Reporting/      Section 4 requires
Certification   the President to
                identify ISIL-
                associated forces
                targetable under the
                resolution in a
                report every 90 days

Consultation    none specified

War Powers      Resolution states
Resolution      authorization section
                is "intended to
                constitute specific
                statutory
                authorization within
                the meaning of
                section 5(b) of the
                War Powers
                Resolution"

Expedited       none
Consideration

Source: Congress.gov.

(a.) H.J.Res. 128 contains two separate authorization provisions.
Section 3 of the resolution operates when the U.N. Security Council
has adopted a resolution authorizing the use of military force
against the Islamic State; Section 4 operates when no such
resolution has been adopted. Section 4 does not in fact authorize
the use of military force, but instead creates a process of
presidential reporting and certification and expedited
consideration procedures for a separate resolution to be introduced
after such reporting and certification has been made to Congress.
The table therefore sets out the operative provisions and language
in H.J.Res. 128 in two columns to separate the operative language
of the two authorization sections. For provisions that apply no
matter which authorization section is operative, or where the
resolution does not contain the type of provision being explained,
the two columns are combined.
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Author:Weed, Matthew C.
Publication:Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Nov 1, 2014
Words:7093
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