The Lawfare Podcast: AUMF Reform After Afghanistan

Jen Patja, Scott R. Anderson, Oona Hathaway, Matthew Waxman
Monday, August 30, 2021, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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Since January, talk about reforming the nearly 20-year-old 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, that provides the legal basis for most overseas U.S. counterterrorism activities, has once again been on the rise. While past efforts have generally failed to yield results, the combination of growing bi-partisan disenchantment with the status quo and a seemingly supportive Biden administration had led some to believe that this is the moment in which reform might finally happen. But now, the collapse in Afghanistan has some wondering whether the Biden administration will still have an appetite for the type of risk that AUMF reform is likely to entail, especially given that President Biden appears to have doubled down on global counterterrorism efforts in recent public remarks.

Scott R. Anderson sat down with two leading experts in war powers: Professor Oona Hathaway of Yale Law School and Professor Matt Waxman of Columbia Law School. They discussed where the impetus for reform comes from, what AUMF reforms may be on the table and what recent events mean for the future of reform efforts.

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Oona A. Hathaway is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, Professor of International Law and Area Studies at the Yale University MacMillan Center, Professor of the Yale University Department of Political Science, and Director of the Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges.
Matthew Waxman is a law professor at Columbia Law School, where he chairs the National Security Law Program. He also previously co-chaired the Cybersecurity Center at Columbia University's Data Science Institute, and he is Adjunct Senior Fellow for Law and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He previously served in senior policy positions at the State Department, Defense Department, and National Security Council. After graduating from Yale Law School, he clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.

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