It is called the Authorization to Use Military Force, and presidents do not use it lightly. But this is what President Obama requested from Congress this week in regard to fighting the terrorist group ISIS. The last time Obama requested this action was against the regime of Syrian president Bashir Al-Assad because of the use of chemical weapons against a civilian population. However, the president backed off an extensive military campaign before it reached Congress. This time the world is watching as the U.S. and other nations have been targeted by ISIS and have seen citizens brutally murdered by the Islamic extremist group.
This new AUMF will formally allow U.S. military assets to target and destroy elements of ISIS operating in various regions in the Middle East and possibly beyond.
Previously, past use of military force was limited to Iraq and Syria within what is known as the War Powers Act, which allows the president to commit forces without congressional approval. The current AUMF formally asks Congress for increased funding and military forces against ISIS. The request asks for a six-month military effort against ISIS.
It will represent a fuller exploration of a U.S. presidents’ power to declare war on a foreign nation under the current War Powers Act that Obama has used during his administration. For the past year, Congress and the president have passed the burden of ISIS between them like a hot potato. But the most recent death of American Kayla Mueller in ISIS custody, has pushed to the forefront the issue of dealing with this threat.