After the AUMF

5 Harvard National Security Journal 115 (2014)

32 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2014

See all articles by Jennifer C. Daskal

Jennifer C. Daskal

American University - Washington College of Law

Stephen I. Vladeck

University of Texas School of Law

Date Written: January 22, 2014


Over a dozen years later, the AUMF — which has never been amended — remains the principal source of the U.S. government’s domestic legal authority to use military force against al Qaeda and its associates, both on the battlefields of Afghanistan and far beyond. But even as the statutory framework has remained unchanged, the facts on the ground have evolved dramatically, leading some to call for a new AUMF. In short, calls for a new framework statute to replace the AUMF are unnecessary, provocative, and counterproductive; they perpetuate war at a time when we should be seeking to end it. Congress certainly may choose, as it did in the AUMF, to authorize the use of military force against specific, organized groups so as to address an established and sustained threat that existing authorities are inadequate to quell. But until and unless the political branches publicly identify a group that poses such a threat, the many other counterterrorism tools at the government’s disposal provide a much more strategically sound (and legally justifiable) means of addressing the terrorist threat. This Article offers an alternative vision for the future of U.S. counterterrorism policy, one in which use-of-force authorizations are a last, rather than first, resort.

Keywords: terrorism, national security, war, AUMF

Suggested Citation

Daskal, Jennifer C. and Vladeck, Stephen I., After the AUMF (January 22, 2014). 5 Harvard National Security Journal 115 (2014), Available at SSRN:

Jennifer C. Daskal (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202- (Phone)

Stephen I. Vladeck

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
5124759198 (Phone)

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