Obama administration officials told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday a revised authorization would be a mandate to defeat the Islamic State.
They testified in support of an updated "authorized use of military force" and urged approval of the three-page document designed to replace the 2002 authorization for the United States' military involvement in Iraq.
"Your unity would also send an unmistakable message to the leaders of [the Islamic State]. They have to understand they cannot divide us ... and they have no hope of defeating us," said Secretary of State John Kerry. His comments were followed by similar urges to approve the authorization by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
The authorization calls for use of U.S. forces for "enduring offensive ground operations" and would expire in three years, in time for a new president and new Congress to re-examine its feasibility and something of a concession that the mission against IS will be long-lasting. It also places no geographic limits on where the battle against IS can be taken; Carter noted in his testimony that IS units have already formed outside of Iraq and Syria.