Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, tells FNC's Chris Wallace that if the president wants to do anything more than "limited" action against international terrorist networks, he should go to Congress for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force. The AUMF passed after 9/11 is still cited as justification for the war against ISIS.
WALLACE: But here's my question: is there a strategy behind the force? Do you know as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee what our strategy is in Syria, in Afghanistan, in North Korea?
THORNBERRY: Well, I don't think anybody can step back and say, OK, I know these events will happen over the next year or two, or five, but I do think you are seeing a different approach to the world, and it is one that says not only to adversaries, but two friends who have had questions about us, that we are willing to put the resources into defending ourselves and making the judgments from time to time when it's necessary to use those military resources. That's different than the message that was sent out during the Obama years.
WALLACE: Finally, especially with this increase willingness to use force: does President Trump need to go back to Congress to get authorization for the use of military force and all these arenas a lot, that are far beyond the authorization back in 2001 and '02 after 9/11?
THORNBERRY: Well, we -- administrations of both parties have used limited force to advance national interest, whether it was President Reagan bombing Gadhafi in '86, or Clinton trying to get bin Laden in the desert and so forth. Those sorts of limited strikes do not require an action by Congress.
I believe that we should, however, update the authorization to use military force against the terrorist networks and have been working to try to do that.
So, if it's sustained, if it involves U.S. boots on the ground and lives, then it needs to come to Congress. If it's limited military action, then, not so much.