In a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday, OpenTheGovernment joined a coalition of organizations in calling on Congress to ensure that any new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) improves transparency and oversight of U.S. wars. The groups commended the Committee for considering the issue of a new AUMF, and urged Senators to hold a full and transparent debate in the full Senate if the Committee moves forward with any new authorization. The coalition also called for the adoption of several provisions that would support Congressional oversight and ensure the U.S. military abides by domestic and international laws.
The groups emphasized the importance of clearly defining the scope and mission of any new AUMF, so that a vibrant public debate can occur on military actions overseas. Clarifying the scope of the authorization, including enemy groups and geographical limits, would also make it easier for Congressional overseers to evaluate when the mission has been achieved or when military use of force occurs outside of the bounds of what has been authorized.
The letter also lists enhanced reporting and transparency requirements as a vital part of accountability to Congress and the public. The groups recommended that the AUMF require regular reports on civilian casualties and enemy combatants killed, the legal frameworks for new military actions, and other similar information.
Read the full letter here.
For a comparative look at AUMF proposals in and out of Congress, please read this issue brief prepared by OTG partner Human Rights First.