An AUMF Against the Islamic State, and More from CRS

Ongoing U.S. military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria lacks any specific authorization from Congress.  A comparative analysis of various proposals for Congress to enact an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State is provided in an updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Although the Obama Administration has claimed 2001 AUMF and 2002 AUMF authority for its recent and future actions against the Islamic State, these claims have been subject to debate,” the report said.

“Some contend that the Administration’s actions against the IS 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 have differed on whether such authorization is needed, given existing authorities, or whether such a measure should be enacted.”

“This report focuses on the several proposals for a new AUMF specifically targeting the Islamic State made during the 113th and 114th Congresses. It includes a brief review of existing authorities and AUMFs, as well as a discussion of issues related to various provisions included in existing and proposed AUMFs that both authorize and limit presidential use of military force.”  See A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Issues and Current Proposals, January 15, 2016.

Other new and newly updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

North Korea: Legislative Basis for U.S. Economic Sanctions, updated January 14, 2016

North Korea: A Comparison of S. 1747, S. 2144, and H.R. 757, January 15, 2016

North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation, updated January 15, 2016

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2016, updated January 14, 2016

Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations, updated January 14, 2016

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons, updated January 14, 2016

Presentation Slides: 2014 Nuclear Security Summit and Verification Capabilities

FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson and Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation Law and Policy Mr. Chris Bidwell spoke at the Radiological and Nuclear Detection Symposium hosted by VIP GlobalNet LLC on March 25-26, 2014 at the Mason Inn at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

Dr. Ferguson’s presentation was on the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit that was held this week in the Netherlands. Ferguson discussed progress with securing dangerous nuclear materials (such as hundreds of tons of HEU that have been downblended to LEU and research and isotope production reactors that have been shut down) and remaining international challenges to securing fissile materials. Dr. Ferguson’s presentation slides are available here (PDF).

Mr. Bidwell spoke about the recent Defense Science Board (DSB) report from January 2014 on monitoring and verification and how they will be used with Iran in the wake of the deal with the P5+1. The DSB report found that nuclear verification and monitoring capabilities  have atrophied, “are either inadequate, or more often, do not exist.” New monitoring technologies need to take into account many factors including: ability to detect smaller programs, monitor for proliferation vs. monitoring for compliance, and issues of crowd sourcing. Mr. Bidwell spoke about other verification concerns and provided recommendations on how to improve current verification tools. Presentation slides are available here (PDF).

Iran and the Global Economy

iranreporteconomyThe escalating confrontation between the United States and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program has triggered much debate about what actions should be taken to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. How might certain actions against Iran affect the global economy? FAS released the results of a study, “Sanctions, Military Strokes, and Other Potential Actions Against Iran”  which assesses the global economic impact on a variety of conflict scenarios, sanctions and other alternative actions against Iran. FAS conducted an expert elicitation with nine subject matter experts involving six hypothetical scenarios in regards to U.S. led actions against Iran, and anticipated three month cost to the global economy. These scenarios ranged from increasing sanctions (estimated cost of U.S. $64 billion) to full-scale invasion of Iran (estimated cost of U.S. $1.7 trillion).

Read the report here (PDF).