Chesney Testifies before House Armed Services on AUMF

Feb 26, 2015

On February 26, Strauss Center Director and UT Law Professor Robert Chesney testified before the House Armed Services Committee in a hearing entitled Outside Perspectives on the President’s Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In his testimony, Chesney explained the relationship of this proposal to other authorities including the 2001 al Qaeda AUMF and the President’s constitutional authority under Article II, and provided an analysis of the issues the President’s proposal raises.

With respect to the relationship of the draft AUMF to existing claims of authority, Chesney pointed out that the constraints included in the draft will have little legal impact since they would not apply to those other authorities (though they might have a significant political impact nonetheless). Chesney also discussed the relative merits of the proposal’s substantive provisions, highlighting the draft’s lack of stated purpose, its vague prohibition on enduring offensive ground combat operations, and its definition of associated forces. Chesney pointed out that there is no historical precedent for authorizing military force to inflict military defeat on an enemy while also forbidding certain types of ground operations.

The full session, including testimony from General Jack Keane, USA (Ret.) and Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution and Lawfare, can be found below: