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June 19, 2017

Summary of ISIS AUMF Proposals

There have been many calls for Congress to pass an AUMF against ISIS, and several members of Congress have released AUMF proposals. To ensure that the United States is empowered to counter the terrorist threat while upholding the rule of law and maintaining global legitimacy, Human Rights First recommends that any authorization to use force against ISIS include the following elements. These elements have garnered bipartisan support and articulate a prudent approach to drafting an effective ISIS AUMF:

  • Specify the Enemy and Mission Objectives
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Compliance with U.S. Obligations Under International Law
  • Supersession/Sole Source of Authority Provision
  • Sunset Clause

This summary charts the extent to which the most prominent ISIS AUMF proposals are in line with these recommendations. The proposals included are from: Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY); Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA); Senator Todd Young (R-IN) (which is the same as Representative Jim Banks’ (R-IN) proposal); Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (which is the same as Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) proposal); the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s 2014 proposal; the Obama Administration’s proposal; and the proposal published on the Lawfare blog and co-authored by Benjamin Wittes, Robert Chesney, Jack Goldsmith, and Matthew Waxman.