Ambiguity Should Play No Part in Obama’s Anti-ISIS Strategy


In Heritage Work

President Obama’s proposed new Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIS is “ambiguous,” Heritage Foundation legal expert Cully Stimson explains to International Business Times:

He’s trying to thread the needle here by giving something to the anti-war left, by saying ‘it’s not an endless war,’ but he also knows that some Republican senators will not tolerate that sunset provision, so he’s left in language that gives hope that it can be extended in the future

Ambiguity in warfare is not useful. As Heritage expert James Phillips puts it, the president actually left himself “open to future use of special operations forces in an expanded role.”

Take a look at the infographic below from The Daily Signal to see what’s in the proposed AUMF: Continue Reading »

Defeating ISIS Requires a Strategy. Congressional Approval Would Help Too.


In Heritage Work

The Obama administration needs to develop a comprehensive coordinated strategy for defeating ISIS terrorists. Congress must closely analyze whether ISIS, as a legal matter, falls under the 2001 AUMF (authorization for use of military force) given the historical ties between ISIS and al Qaeda.  And if ISIS does not fall under the 2001 AUMF then Congress and the administration must craft an ISIS-specific authorization for use of military force, Heritage Foundation expert Cully Stimson writes in a new report.

The administration “must develop a comprehensive, overarching strategy to confront and ultimately defeat this enemy,” Stimson argues. “Working with our partners and allies and the countries in the region that are most affected by ISIS, the United States must do what it traditionally has done: lead.”

He continues:

The vibrant debate among legal scholars regarding the domestic and international law basis for U.S. military action against ISIS is partly due to the fact that the Administration has yet to provide the public with a clear, comprehensive legal analysis of its power to use military force against ISIS. As a general principle, when a President puts our troops in harm’s way for a sustained period of time, it is advisable for him to propose, consult with, and obtain express authorization from Congress. That consultation and debate should be public, not buried in a continuing resolution or other must-pass legislation. Sending our troops into war requires a sober, deliberate debate that is not influenced by electoral politics.

Do you think the administration needs explicit authorization from Congress to fight ISIS?

Don’t Use Military Service as a Backdoor Amnesty

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In Heritage Work

Immigration policies such as the ENLIST Act are providing a backdoor to instant citizenship and will hurt America, Heritage Foundation expert Cully Stimson argues.

Current policy allows legal permanent residents may enlist in the military, serve honorably, and then apply for expedited citizenship. The proposed law, however, extends this privilege to illegal immigrants.

The ENLIST Act, Stimson explains, “encourages more illegal immigration, flouts the rule of law, and has the potential to harm national security.”

Do you support the ENLIST Act?

Heritage Expert Answers Questions About Bowe Bergdahl on CSPAN


In Heritage Work

Heritage Foundation expert Cully Stimson appeared on C-SPAN this morning to discuss the legality of the administration’s decision to negotiate Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from Taliban captivity and to free five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange.

Stimson, who was the deputy assistant secretary in the Defense Department’s Office of Detainee Affairs before he joined Heritage, discussed who the prisoners are and gave some background on prior releases of Guantanamo detainees. Continue Reading »

How to Fix the Problem of Sexual Assault in the Military


In Heritage Work

Cully Stimson

Cully Stimson

Sexual assault in the military is a critical problem which detracts from the readiness of America’s armed forces.

In a major new special report, Heritage Foundation legal expert and former prosecutor Cully Stimson presents the facts and outlines solutions.

Lawmakers and the executive branch have rightly focused attention on reports of assault and have proposed some thoughtful solutions.  But the scheme proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) would (1) weaken the military, whose mission is to defend the nation, and (2) ultimately harm victims of sexual assault.

Stimson makes the case for several specific reforms to address the problem, like changes to the JAG Corps. And he warns that radical changes pushed by some lawmakers could undermine the order and discipline that’s critical for the armed forces.

He concludes: Continue Reading »

Counterterrorism Guidance Lawmakers Should Consider Right Now


In Heritage Work

Keiko Hiromi/Polaris/Newscom

In the wake of this week’s tragic attacks, including the Boston bombing and the ricin-laced letters sent to , policymakers need to refocus on effective homeland security solutions.

The first purpose of federal government is to protect its citizens. For this reason, The Heritage Foundation has long been focused on developing homeland security policies that keep the U.S. safe and prosperous, as seen in the following reports.

Eight Heritage reports summarized on can serve as a guide to future reforms: Continue Reading »

Heritage Experts Explain the Boston Attacks

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In Heritage Impact

Heritage Foundation experts have been hitting the airwaves to provide insights into the tragedy in Boston and the ongoing investigation into Monday’s bombing.

A full list of media appearances is below.

For Heritage’s take on the attacks, please read today’s Morning Bell. Continue Reading »

Inside a Terrorist’s Plea Bargain

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In Heritage Work

Guantanamo Bay

The plea deal between the government and a terrorist detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, “is a significant milestone in the war against terror,” says Heritage Foundation legal scholar Charles Stimson.

Majid Khan’s plea deal, in which he agreed to testify against other terrorists, may mean more trials and more guilty pleas by terrorists, Stimson argues. The government followed a similar model in taking down the Gambino crime family in New York.

Khan pleaded guilty  to charges of conspiracy, murder, support for terrorism, and spying before a military commission. In exchange for his plea and cooperation in testifying against future detainees, he will receive a prison sentence capped at 25 years.

But how did this extraordinary plea agreement come to pass?

Stimson explains:

After the 9/11 attacks, Khan, who had graduated from Owings Mills High School in Baltimore, traveled to Karachi, Pakistan, to “explore the possibility of entering Afghanistan and understanding jihad from close terrorist associates.

Once in Pakistan, an unnamed co-conspirator introduced Khan to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Khan told KSM that his family owned gas stations in the United States, and they discussed a plot to blow up underground gasoline storage tanks at gas stations in the United States and poison water reservoirs. KSM ordered Khan to attend training on explosive device detonators and timers and then return to Baltimore in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Continue Reading »

Debunking Myths About the National Defense Authorization Act


In Heritage Work

The National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress last fall to provide funding and authority for America’s armed forces, included several provisions intended to strengthen America’s fight against terrorists.

Critics from across the political spectrum charge, however, that section 1021 of the bill creates or expands federal authority to detain United States citizens without due process.

“Those claims are false,” Heritage Foundation legal scholar Charles Stimson argues in a new report.

The NDAA has not impacted the conditions under which a U.S. citizen may (or may not) be detained. In fact, section 1021 of the NDAA is explicit: The law regarding how U.S. citizens are handled, including the right to habeas corpus, is the same today as it was the day before it was passed.

Stimson points to the text of the law, which states that: Continue Reading »

12 States Provide In-State Tuition Discount to Illegal Aliens


In Heritage Work

Students at South West Texas State University. Photo: Flickr/Darcie Tanner

Federal immigration law prohibits states from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens unless the same rates are offered to all U.S. citizens.

But that hasn’t stopped 12 states from doing just that.

Simply put, these states are breaking federal law, Heritage Foundation legal scholars Hans Von Spakovsky and Charles Stimson write. Federal law trumps state laws.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 prohibits state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State” unless the same in-state rates are offered to all citizens of the United States.

And it is the Justice Department’s responsibility to enforce this law. Continue Reading »

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