Monday, January, 13, 2014

Battlefield Earth. New America, Washington DC


Battlefield Earth

Reassessing U.S. Responses to Terrorist Threats
In collaboration with Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. 

In 2001, the U.S. Congress authorized the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.” This Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) set no limits on time, location, or target.

In just the last 12 months, the AUMF was invoked in support of the war in Afghanistan, but also unconventional operations in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and possibly elsewhere — operations such as targeted killings using drones, raids and captures by U.S. Special Forces, and, in all probability, cyber warfare.

As Heather Hurlburt writes in “Battlefield Earth” in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas’ Winter 2014 issue, out this month: “public debate over the use of force in Syria and the revelations concerning National Security Agency surveillance suggest that Americans are increasingly uncomfortable with actions being undertaken in their name. President Obama appeared to acknowledge this reality in May [2013] when he said he looked forward ‘to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.’”

With combat in Afghanistan winding down at the end of the year, does the AUMF continue to authorize force against any terror suspect linked to al-Qaeda, anywhere? Will Congress or the Administration move to “refine” or “repeal” it, and if so, how?

Join the New America Foundation’s National Security Program and Democracy for a panel discussion assessing the politics, legal alternatives, and policy implications of a 13-year-old piece of legislation that makes the planet an open-ended battlefield.

Join the conversation online using #battlefieldearth and following @NatSecNAF.

If you are unable to join us in person, please tune in to our live webcast of the event. No signup is required to view the streaming video.  


Heather Hurlburt
Senior Advisor, National Security Network

Benjamin Wittes
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
Co-founder and editor-in-chief, The Lawfare Blog

Micah Zenko
Douglas Dillon Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Vice Chair, World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Terrorism

Peter Bergen
Director, National Security Program