Kerry Makes Pitch for Inherent Resolve AUMF

Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday to seek common ground in developing a new Authorization of the Use of Military Force bill to approve ongoing military operations against ISIS extremists—a topic that has attracted criticism from many senators whom cite the absence of any clear direction on the legislation from the Obama Administration. Kerry said an AUMF should give the President the “clear mandate and flexibility” needed to prosecute ISIS, but also be “limited and specific to the threat posed by that group.” The Administration does not want language to “pre-emptively” restrict any operations—including the use of ground troops. Kerry also said the language should not limit operations to Iraq and Syria, but should instead give the US the flexibility needed to ensure ISIS will not seek safe havens from military operations outside of those countries. Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) criticized the Administration for failing to provide proposed language, saying this has forced Congress’ hand to come up with its own proposals. (Menendez has proposed AUMF language, which would last three years, rather than indefinitely). “There are many of us that feel it is our responsibility to define it and move forward,” he said. (Kerry prepared testimony.)