Authorization for the Use of Military Force

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The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), as distinct from a declaration of war, is the primary legislative authorization for U.S. combat activities following the 9-11 attacks.[1] It authorizes the President "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Authority granted

Congress declared this was a statutory authorization consistent with the War Powers Resolution, although not superseding any of its other requirements.

Authority claimed

Besides direct military operations, President George W. Bush held that the AUMF permitted him to declare anyone, regardless of citizenship, an enemy combatant. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla.


  1. Joint Resolution: Authorization for Use of Military Force, September 18, 2001, Public Law 107-40 [S. J. RES. 23]