(Senate - September 12, 2017)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages S5198-S5210]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I rise today to oppose unauthorized, 
undeclared, and unconstitutional war. What we have today is basically 
unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, anyplace upon the globe.
  My amendment would sunset in 6 months the 2001 and 2002 
authorizations for use of force. What does that mean? This was 
legislation passed many years ago to go after the people who attacked 
us on 9/11. I supported that battle, but I think the mission is long 
since over. I don't think anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty 
believes these authorizations from 16 years ago and 14 years ago--I 
don't think anyone with intellectual honesty believes they authorized 
war in seven different countries.
  Not only is it lives we are losing, the American soldiers, the brave 
young men and women who are sent to distant lands and asked to give 
their lives for their country without the Senate taking the time to 
authorize the war--I think that is terribly unjust and should end.
  There are some who argue that we don't even need to vote at all. Some 
of the Presidents, Republican and Democratic, have said they have 
article II--this is the second article of the Constitution--they say 
that by the Constitution, they can do what they want, when they want, 
where they want, and that Congress never has to approve their 
authorization and never has to give authority to go to war. These 
advocates of perpetual war argue that these powers are implicit and 
that no one can stop a President who wants to go to war.
  This is diametrically opposite of what our Founding Fathers thought. 
Madison in particular disagreed. Madison wrote that the executive 
branch is the branch most prone to go to war; therefore, the 
Constitution, with studied care, vested that power in the Congress. Our 
Founding Fathers saw the

[[Page S5199]]

history of Europe as the perpetual history of war--brothers fighting 
brothers, Kings of two different countries who were cousins, brothers, 
uncles, fathers, sons. The history of Europe was perpetual war.
  When we broke away, we said: We are going to have some checks and 
balances in place. We are going to make it difficult to go to war. We 
are going to vest that power in the Congress.
  But somewhere along the way, we lost our way, and we now commit 
ourselves to war or one man or one woman commits us to war without any 
vote by Congress. This is not what our Founding Fathers intended.
  Former President Obama, when he was a candidate, wrote that no 
President should unilaterally go to war unless we were under imminent 
attack. That is the understanding of the Constitution that most 
originalists take. Yet, once Mr. Obama was in the White House, he 
bombed seven different countries. He expanded the use of Executive 
power. He expanded the war-making power of the Presidency, even while 
all along saying that he was for a narrower interpretation.
  Candidate Trump said that the war in Afghanistan had lost its 
purpose, that it was a disaster, and that it should end. He said that 
on maybe 15 different occasions. Yet, now that he is in the White 
House, the generals have said: We must fight on. We must continue to 
fight. If we leave, the Taliban will take over.
  My question is, When will the Afghans stand up and fight? We have 
spent $1 trillion helping them. We spent billions of dollars trying to 
convince them not to grow the poppy that becomes the opium that addicts 
the world. Yet last year Afghanistan had the biggest crop of poppy they 
have ever had in recent history. The people who run Afghanistan, whom 
we put in to govern, the Karzai family--full of drug dealers, crooks, 
and thieves. You wonder why they are not popular in their own country. 
But my question is, Where did the $1 trillion go? Why can't they defend 
themselves? Why do we have to fight their wars for them?
  One thing is certain: The war was not authorized by you, the people, 
and the war was not authorized by us, the Congress, and therefore the 
war is unconstitutional. The war is unauthorized.
  You say: Well, do we ever get it right? Have we ever voted to 
authorize war?
  Yes, we have. When we went to war in Afghanistan the first time--and 
I would have voted yes--there was a vote, and overwhelmingly we voted 
to go in.
  Some have argued: Well, is 6 months enough time for Congress to do 
anything? Can they get anything done in 6 months?
  When we were attacked in Pearl Harbor, do you know how long it took 
us to declare war? Twenty-four hours. When we were attacked on 9/11, 
how long did it take us to authorize the military force to go in? Three 
days. People say Congress will never get it done. Maybe it is because 
we are divided.
  We haven't been attacked, we have no clear purpose in Afghanistan, 
and there is no clear route to victory. Realize that in 2011 President 
Obama put 100,000 troops into Afghanistan. Sure, he pushed the Taliban 
back. Where did they go? To our ally Pakistan, which has gotten 
billions and billions of dollars of American welfare and as we sit here 
is destined to get another half a million of your money in American 
welfare over the next month. Billions and billions of dollars we send 
to Pakistan, but where does the Taliban live? In Pakistan. They run 
back and forth across the border.
  So we have to ask the question, What is our purpose? Are we nation 
building? We spend hundreds of billions of dollars building their 
roads, building their bridges, building their schools. They bomb them, 
we bomb them--somebody bombs them, and then we rebuild them again.
  We have $150 billion worth of damage in Texas. Do you know how we 
should pay for it? Let's quit sending welfare to foreign countries. 
Let's look at our country first, the problems we have here, rebuild our 
roads, our bridges, our schools, and not borrow it, not add to a $20 
trillion debt. Take the money we are sending in welfare to foreign 
countries and let's rebuild our own.
  We are at war in seven countries--none of them voted on by Congress. 
Is it expensive? Yes, to the tune of trillions of dollars.
  Today we will debate the issue of war and whether Congress is 
constitutionally bound to declare war. We will debate whether one 
generation can bind another generation to perpetual war.
  We are at the point where we have been in Afghanistan so long that 
within the next year, there will be people fighting who were not yet 
born on 9/11. This war no longer has anything to do with 9/11, no 
longer has anything to do with any vital interest in our country. It 
has to do with us believing we could reshape the world and make the 
world safe for democracy--everyone is going to love America, and 
everyone is going to become a western style democracy. Guess what? It 
is never going to happen.
  Afghanistan is not even a real country; it is a collection of five or 
six tribal lands that were stuck together by Europeans who had no 
knowledge of the local people. They don't even like each other, much 
less us. Do you know what they call the President, who resides in 
Kabul? They call him the mayor of Kabul derisively because he has no 
sway over them. They are interested in who their chieftain is in their 
local area. They speak five different languages. They are never going 
to be a country.
  If you want to be at war there, you want to send your sons and 
daughters to Afghanistan, you think somehow it will make our country 
safer, let's vote on it. So what I am advocating is a vote. For the 
first time in 16 years, I am advocating that we should vote on whether 
we should be at war. It should be a simple vote, but it is like pulling 
teeth. I have been trying very hard to get this vote for 5 years now. I 
am this close. I am hoping to get the vote today or tomorrow, but it 
isn't easy because we have been obstructing and obstructing, and no one 
wants to be on the line. Yet that is why we are elected--to put our 
names, our John Hancock, on the line. Are you for the war or against 
the war?

  I am done. I am done. I am ready to come home. I remember my father 
saying, in 2008, in one of the Presidential debates, when they asked 
``How will you get the people home?'' he said ``We just marched in, and 
we can just march out.''
  There is no more meaning or purpose in Afghanistan. We had 100,000 
troops there in 2011. All of the Taliban scurried into Pakistan, and as 
soon as the troops diminished, they went back. Some people take from 
that lesson--they say: We need 200,000 or we need half a million troops 
or we need to stay there forever and police every corner for them. I 
take it to mean that the governments themselves over there do not have 
the popular support of the people.
  Stand up and fight for your country. Half of the people in 
Afghanistan who were helping us over there came to our country. They 
fled. It is the same with Iraq. All of the good people in Iraq--our 
translators, pro-Western people--came to our country. I understand 
wanting to come to a good place, but it would be like having the people 
who signed the Declaration of Independence, after they had fought the 
war and America had won, going back to England and saying: Oh, it is 
dangerous in the new country. Yet that is what we have been saying year 
after year, so the people who have pro-Western values from Afghanistan 
now live in the United States and the same in Iraq.
  The thing is that we need to have some tough love. They need to 
practice some responsibility, and they need to take ownership of their 
country. But as long as you coddle people, as long as you give people 
stuff, and as long as you fight their wars for them, they are not going 
to step up and fight.
  We are going to debate whether Afghanistan is a winnable war.
  We will also debate whether war in Yemen is in our national interest. 
Most of America does not know that we are at war in Yemen. Most of 
America does not know where Yemen is. We need to know why we are there 
and whether it is of any value to the United States.
  We will debate whether our support for Saudi Arabia is exacerbating 
starvation and the plague of cholera in Yemen.
  We will debate whether it is in our national interest to topple the 
Government of Syria. There are 2 million

[[Page S5200]]

Christians who live in Syria. Guess what. We may not understand it, but 
most of those Christians support Assad. On the side of the war that we 
have been funding and arming with the radical Islamists from Saudi 
Arabia and with the radical Islamists from Qatar are the people who 
hate the Christians. We are fighting on the side of the people who hate 
the Christians in Syria. Does that make Assad a good guy? No, but the 
thing is that maybe sometimes there is no good person in a war, no good 
side to a war.
  For 5 years, I have been fighting to have a vote on whether we should 
be at war and where. I think there is no greater responsibility for a 
legislator than to vote on when we go to war. I tell the young soldiers 
whom I meet that it is my responsibility to discuss, debate, and think 
seriously about whether we send them to war.
  One of the things that is most mistaken by politicians--even by some 
who are well intended--is that they think every soldier in America is 
jumping up and down to go to his eighth tour in Afghanistan. Go out and 
meet the soldiers. They are not allowed to be politically active, and 
they are not a political force on Washington, but I guarantee that if 
you were to ask our soldiers ``Are you ready to go back for your eighth 
tour of Afghanistan? Do you see purpose in Afghanistan?'' that they 
have lost sight of what that purpose is.
  I met a Navy SEAL about a year ago. He had been in for 19 years--a 
tough guy, as they all are--and he said to me: Do you know what? We can 
defeat any enemy. We can kill any enemy. We can succeed at almost any 
mission that you give us. But the mistake is when you--Congress or a 
President--tell us to go somewhere and plant the flag and create a 
country. We are just not very good at nation building.
  We have the world's most elite military. We can defend our country. 
We can defend, without question, against all invaders. Yet we are not 
very good at making countries out of places that are not.
  What we should think about is that we have a $20 trillion debt. We 
borrow $1 million a minute. Even if you thought it was a good idea to 
try to create a country in Iraq or create a country in Afghanistan or 
create some sort of paradise in Yemen or Somalia or Nigeria or Libya or 
any of the places we are--even if you thought some paradise was a great 
thing--we have no money with which to do it. We are destroying our 
country from within. We are eating out the substance of the very 
greatness of America by borrowing $1 million a minute. We are flat 
broke. We cannot afford to be everybody's Uncle Sam. We cannot afford 
to be everybody's Uncle Patsy. We cannot afford to keep exporting our 
money and our jobs to the rest of the world. We need to look at our 
country and say it is time that we did things for our country, for our 
people, and it is time that we quit borrowing $1 million a minute.
  The question is, Will the Senators--will those who gather to vote--
stand for the rule of law? Will the Senators stand for congressional 
authority for war? Will they stand for what the Constitution clearly 
says in article I, section 8, which is that Congress, not the 
President, shall declare war? Will the Senators sit idly by and let the 
wars continue unabated and unauthorized?
  Some will argue that sunsetting the old authorizations is too soon, 
too dramatic. Really? So 6 months and 16 years later, we have not 
decided whether we should be at war or where we should be, and we 
cannot decide in 6 months? It took us 24 hours to decide with Pearl 
Harbor. It took us 3 days to decide with 9/11. I think 6 months is 
more than enough time.

  Will Congress do its job unless it is forced to? All history says no. 
Why does Congress have an 11-percent approval rating from the people? 
Because it is not doing its job. How do we force Congress to do its 
job? Give it deadlines. How can we get a deadline? Let's pass this. 
Let's let the authorizations expire. Let's have a full-throated, deep, 
and heartfelt debate over whether we should be at war and where. Should 
we be at war in Afghanistan? Is there a winnable and foreseeable 
winnable future there? Should we be at war in Iraq? Syria? Yemen? 
  Today's vote can be seen as a proxy vote for the Constitution. 
Today's vote is not really a vote for or against any particular war. 
Today's vote is simply a vote on whether we will obey the Constitution. 
Today's vote is a vote on whether Congress will step up and do its job. 
Sixteen-and-a-half years is more than enough time to determine whether 
the war in Afghanistan or Yemen or Libya or Somalia has purpose or real 
meaning for our national security.
  Often, it is said--very glibly--that, yes, it is in our national 
security interest. Realize when people tell you that they are giving 
you a conclusion. That is the beginning of the debate. We could debate 
for hours and hours. Hopefully, we will have some of that debate, but 
we have to debate what is in our vital national interest. Just to say 
it is so does not make it so.
  Does anybody in America think the war in Yemen is in our vital 
interest? Most people do not know where Yemen is, much less think it is 
in our vital interest. Guess what. The war in Yemen may actually be 
opposed to our vital national interest. It may be making it worse. The 
war in Libya certainly did.
  President Obama, when he chose to act illegally and intervene in 
Libya, made the world less safe. It was not his intention. I will grant 
him that his motives were to make it more safe, but he made the world 
less safe. Why? Because when Qadhafi was toppled, you got chaos. You 
have two competing governments in Libya, and you have chaos. If you 
want to set up a terrorist camp, if you are ready to go find a good 
place in the world, Libya is one of the prime places to go now because 
the government is gone and there is chaos. So I would argue that the 
intervention--one of the wars that we fought illegally, without the 
approval of the Senate, under the unilateral action of the President--
made us less safe. That is why we are supposed to debate before we go 
to war. We are less safe because of the Libyan war.
  How about the Syrian war? It is the Christians on one side and us on 
the other side. That is the first problem I have. The people on the 
side of the war that we supported are the radical Islamists. ISIS was 
on the side that we were supporting. In fact, one of the most famous, 
if not the most famous and important leaked email about Hillary Clinton 
from WikiLeaks was when Hillary Clinton sent an email to John Podesta, 
writing to him: Hmm, we need to exert some influence on Saudi Arabia 
and Qatar because they are giving financial and strategic assistance to 
  Realize that. Of the people we are selling weapons to in Saudi Arabia 
and Qatar--they get all of their weapons from us--guess who they are 
giving them to. ISIS. They were on the same side as ISIS.
  Let's say you do not believe that. You say: Oh, I don't believe that. 
Certainly we would not have done that because we would not have 
supported the bad people.
  Let's say we just supported the so-called moderates. They are still 
fighting against the guys who are protecting the Christians.
  What was the net effect of the Syrian civil war? Before we got 
involved, Assad was winning the war. Once again, like Qadhafi, he is 
not a great guy, but he does defend the Christians, and the Christians 
do support him. We turned the tide of the war by flowing in hundreds 
and hundreds of tons of weapons in 2013--us, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia--
but these weapons went in indiscriminantly. What happened when we 
turned the tide of the war? Chaos in a vacuum. In that vacuum, guess 
who arose. ISIS.
  When you created chaos in Libya by fighting an unconstitutional, 
unauthorized war, you got more terrorism, more chaos, and the world was 
a less safe place.
  When we got involved in Syria without the authorization of Congress--
unconstitutional, unauthorized--what did you get? Chaos and the rise of 
  What do we have in Yemen right now? In Yemen, you have a Sunni-backed 
government in exile that is supported by the Saudis, and you have these 
Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran. But that is not all you have 
in Yemen. You also have al-Qaida of the Arab Peninsula--three different 
groups. It is said that al-Qaida of the Arab Peninsula is actually the 
strongest remaining presence of al-Qaida. Is it possible, in our 
supporting the Saudi

[[Page S5201]]

Arabian-backed government against the Houthis, that they fight and kill 
each other to such a degree of chaos that al-Qaida of the Arab 
Peninsula fills the vacuum? If you look at Libya, that is what 
happened. If you look at Syria, that is what happened. What if it 
happens in Yemen?
  You have to ask, what is our vital interest in Yemen? Why are we in 
Yemen? Why are we supplying bombs to the Saudis? Is it somehow making 
us safer from terrorism? Are we killing them over there so they do not 
kill us over here? Guess what. We may be creating more terrorists than 
we can possibly kill.
  The Saudis bombed a funeral procession of civilians. They killed 150 
people, and they wounded 500. Do you think they are ever going to 
forget about it? That is going to be passed down through oral tradition 
for a thousand years, and they will talk about the day that the Saudis 
came and bombed civilians. They will also say in the next breath: Guess 
who gave them the bombs. The Americans. Guess who helped to guide the 
planes. Guess who refueled the planes in the air. The Americans 
refueled the Saudis the day that they came to bomb a funeral 
  So, in the end, we killed 150 people. You might say: Well, they were 
all bad people. They were at the funeral of a bad person. Do you think 
that we killed 150 and that will be the end of it, or do you think that 
those who were wounded, who survived and went back to their villages, 
told every one of their neighbors and everyone in the village about the 
day the Saudis came with the American bombs?
  We have to ask ourselves, are we making things better? Is Yemen in 
our vital national interest? Are we making things better or are we 
making things worse? Is there a possibility that it will lead to such 
chaos that al-Qaida of the Arab Peninsula will rise up and become a 
real threat to us?
  What else is happening in Yemen? It is one of the poorest countries 
on the planet, as 17 million people, as we speak, live on the edge of 
starvation--17 million people. They are having the largest outbreak of 
cholera. Where is most of this happening? Where is most of the 
starvation, most of the killing, and most of the cholera? It is in the 
areas that are being bombed by the Saudis. They have bombed the 
infrastructure into ruins, and there is no clean water, so cholera is 
  War is probably the most common and most important precipitating 
factor in humanitarian disasters. If you look at humanitarian disasters 
around the world, you will find that the No. 1 cause is war, and Yemen 
was already a poor place to begin with.
  You are fighting the war, and nobody asked your permission. You are 
fighting a war in Yemen through the proxy of Saudi Arabia, and no one 
has asked my permission. This is a grave insult to us. It is dangerous 
to the Treasury, but it is also your sons and daughters who are being 
asked to go to Yemen now.
  We had a manned raid in Yemen and lost one of our Navy SEALs. I have 
asked what we got, and they just sort of push me off and say, oh, they 
might tell me on another occasion. No one will tell me what we got. 
They claim that it was great, that it was the best stuff you could ever 
find, that it is going to prevent loss of life. But the thing is, we 
have no business in Yemen. We have not voted to go to war in Yemen. We 
have been at war 16 years--the longest war now--in Afghanistan. There 
is no purpose left. There is no future for the war in Afghanistan.
  Today's vote will be remembered as the first vote--if we have it--in 
16 years on whether to continue fighting everywhere, all the time, 
without ever having to renew the authorization of Congress. I hope 
Senators will think long and hard about the seven ongoing wars and, at 
the very least, show regard for our young soldiers and go on the record 
to uphold their oath of office. Each Senator should uphold their oath 
of office and defend the Constitution and its requirements with regard 
to war.
  I, for one, will stand with soldiers, young and brave, sent to fight 
in distant lands in a forgotten, forever war. I will stand for the 
Constitution. I will stand with our Founding Fathers, who did 
everything possible to make the initiation of war difficult.
  I hope my colleagues will stand for something. I hope my colleagues 
will finally vote to do their constitutional duty and oversee and/or 
discontinue the many wars we are in. But even if my colleagues say: 
War, war--that is the answer--everywhere, all the time, by golly, come 
down and put your name on it. If you think we should be at war in 
Afghanistan, vote for it. If you think we should be at war in Yemen, 
come down to the floor and vote for it.
  What does everybody do? Pass the buck. Let the President do it. Let 
the President take the blame if things don't go well. We should vote. 
So on my amendment, you will probably see that the majority will say: 
We don't want any responsibility; let the President take care of that.
  My vote isn't actually directly on any of the wars, although I do 
oppose most of the wars we are involved in. My vote is on whether or 
not we should vote on whether we should be at war.
  So for those who oppose my vote, they oppose the Constitution. They 
oppose obeying the Constitution, which says that we are supposed to 
vote. They are going to say: No, I refuse to vote on any of these wars.
  All my amendment does is to sunset an authorization that really 
doesn't apply to anything we are doing at the moment, and it says that 
in 6 months' time, you have to come up with an authority to go to war. 
I hope my colleagues will stand for something. I hope they will finally 
vote to do their constitutional duty. It is the least we can do to 
honor the service of our brave young soldiers.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Strange). The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I want to discuss an amendment, and I am 
not sure when it will be offered--I understand it will be offered--and 
I think it is very significant.
  First of all, let's keep in mind what this is all about. The NDAA is 
the National Defense Authorization Act. It is one that we know is going 
to pass. It has passed for 55 consecutive years. If something happened 
and it didn't pass, the troops wouldn't get hazard pay or flight pay, 
and it would really be a traumatic thing that would happen. But it is 
not going to happen. It is going to pass. It is the most important bill 
that I believe we pass every year. As I said, we have passed it for 55 
consecutive years, and it is important that we pass it right away. 
Sometimes it gets stalled until later in the year, but if it isn't done 
by the end of December, that is when everything falls apart. So we just 
don't need to do that, and I believe we have the momentum to go ahead 
and get it done.
  Now, we are facing a threat. I have stood at this podium so many 
times now to talk about how I look back wistfully at the days of the 
Cold War when we had two superpowers. We knew what they had. They knew 
what we had. Mutually shared destruction meant something, but now it is 
totally different.
  We hear that the two biggest threats facing us right now would be 
North Korea and Iran. I stand on the side that it is North Korea 
because North Korea is run by someone with a questionable mentality, 
and they are developing--I have watched them over the years--the 
capabilities that they now have. I certainly agree that Iran also is a 
serious threat. But the fact is that our Armed Forces are now in a 
condition that they have not been in for a long time.
  I chair the Subcommittee on Readiness in the Senate, and we had the 
vice chairs testify before us not too long ago. They testified that we 
are in worse shape now than we were during the hollow force of the 
1970s, right after the Carter administration. Many of us remember that, 
and I certainly do. Our Armed Forces are smaller than in the days of 
the hollow force in the 1970s, and readiness in the form of personnel, 
training, and equipment have been degraded, I think, to a breaking 
point. All the while, we have witnessed an uptake in the training and 
operational accidents across the Armed Forces. While the risks posed by 
the readiness crisis are significant, Congress is already taking steps 
to correct the shortfalls.
  Every amendment considered for the NDAA should focus on increasing 
readiness across our services. We owe it to

[[Page S5202]]

our troops and our Nation to help ensure that levels are acceptable. 
That is why it is disappointing and dangerous that we are considering 
an amendment that would authorize a base realignment and closure round, 
better known to all of us as a BRAC round. We have had five BRAC rounds 
since 1989, and I am familiar with all of them. I, along with many of 
my colleagues in the Senate Armed Services Committee, successfully have 
a provision that would include a prohibition against a BRAC right now. 
I think it is pretty obvious. Everyone knows what the threat is out 
there. At least those on the Armed Services Committee do. But they also 
know that any BRAC round that you do is going to have the effect of 
costing a lot of money that should be spent on readiness. No matter 
what a base realignment and closure, or BRAC, is, the amount of money 
that is spent when you first start is going to be very expensive.
  Unfortunately, an amendment is pending that would enable a new BRAC 
round in 2019, and, at the same time, remove--this is critical--the 
nonpartisan commission that allows the input of both local defense 
communities and Congress into the BRAC process.
  I will tell my colleagues why that is important. I remember because 
it was shortly after I was first elected. Prior to 1989, the Defense 
Department was the agency that made the decisions as to what was going 
to happen to our various installations around America. It was very, 
very political. There were rumors or some stories that they would agree 
for certain considerations to allow someone to continue to operate when 
they really shouldn't be operating.
  Well, the Pentagon claims that a BRAC round would save money and 
would allow the military to invest that money into critical readiness 
shortfalls. It is just not true. Before the most recent BRAC round in 
2005, we heard these same arguments from the Pentagon, that the BRAC 
would somehow save money and would allow the military to increase 
efficiency. With 22 major base closings and 33 realignments--that is 
what happened in 2005--the round was depicted to save, over a 20-year 
period, $35 billion, with costs of $21 billion. The reality is far 
different. The 2005 BRAC round cost taxpayers roughly $35 billion, and 
it is only expected to save $9.9 billion over the next 20 years.
  Now, the other day I went back and looked up just to see what the GAO 
said about that. Keep in mind that it was a 2005 BRAC round, but the 
GAO study was actually in 2011, saying: We know what we said at that 
time; let's see how they performed.
  So let me read right out of their report: The ``one-time 
implementation costs''--that is the cost of putting together a BRAC 
round--``grew from $21 billion originally estimated by the BRAC 
Commission in 2005 to about $35 billion.'' In other words, they said it 
was going to cost $21 billion, and it ended up costing $35 billion. 
That is an increase of 67 percent. It has been that way with the other 
rounds too.
  Looking at their analysis of the value, it is very important that we 
understand what they are saying here. The GAO said that ``the 20-year 
net present value DOD can expect by implementing the 2005 BRAC 
recommendations has decreased by 72 percent.''
  In other words, they were 72 percent off as to what great savings we 
were going to have in the future by making these closures.
  They went on to say that ``the 20-year net present value--that is, 
the present value of future savings minus the present value of up-front 
investment costs--of $35.6 billion estimated by the Commission in 2005 
for this BRAC round has decreased by 72 percent.'' It cannot be more 
specific than that, and this is the consistent pattern that we have.
  So, clearly, those base closure rounds cost the American taxpayers an 
exorbitant amount of money up front and take years to recoup their 
initial investment, if they ever do. In this case, they haven't, and 
they don't expect to. With the history of previous inconsistencies 
between expected and actual costs, there is no certainty that any 
proposed base closures or realignments would be economically viable now 
or at any time in the future.
  Now, we are at a point of uncertainty that makes it irresponsible to 
expend billions of dollars in downsizing our Armed Forces when we are 
currently facing some of the most volatile, unpredictable, and 
dangerous military threats that America has ever seen. Readiness can't 
wait, and our enemies around the world will not.
  We must also consider the possibility that we will soon require the 
capacity that is presently considered excess if the current military 
threats materialize in a manner that would encourage expansion of our 
armed services.
  I think that just stands to reason. We know the threats are out 
there, and we know the problems are more severe than they have ever 
been in the history of this country. So maybe the current size of our 
forces would not be adequate. Well, it is a lot cheaper to go ahead and 
keep something that is already there than it is to tear down something 
and start all over again.
  So, anyway, as to the early years, everybody knows that the certainty 
is there that it will cost money in the early years. The high cost of a 
BRAC round would divert resources away from addressing immediate, 
tangible threats.
  Just last week, North Korea tested what is believed to be a hydrogen 
bomb, its most powerful nuclear weapon tested to date, estimated at 
nearly seven times as powerful as the bomb detonated over Hiroshima. 
This came on the heels of North Korea's first successfully tested and 
more powerful and far-ranging intercontinental ballistic missile, or 
ICBM. We are familiar with that test, which began over the summer. Now, 
if fired on a trajectory, experts believe the ICBMs that North Korea 
tested could have reached the United States of America.
  I can remember talking about this with our intelligence department 
years ago. At that time, we were saying that they could finally develop 
a bomb and a delivery system that could reach the United States of 
America. Well, that may be here today. If not, it is imminent.
  A BRAC round now would also shortchange a response to the immediate 
readiness needs. Over the last 90 days, we have witnessed a spike in 
accidents across the military services, especially in the Navy and in 
some of the aviation mishaps. While these accidents are still under 
investigation--under investigation to determine the cause--it is not 
hard to correlate them with the readiness decline.
  Our forces are smaller than the days of the hollow force in the 
1970s. Our equipment is aging. Our base infrastructure requires 
critical maintenance and upgrades. Our Air Force is short 1,500 pilots, 
and 1,300 of those are fighter pilots. Only 50 percent of the Air Force 
squadrons are trained and ready to conduct their assigned missions. The 
Navy is the smallest and the least ready it has been in years. It 
currently can only meet about 40 percent of the demand for regional 
combat commanders. We are talking about the commanders in the field who 
make that assessment. We can only carry out less than 40 percent of 
them. More than half of Navy aircraft are grounded because they are 
awaiting maintenance or lack necessary parts. The Marine Corps' F/A-
18s, known as the Hornets, 62 percent are broken. We don't have that 
capacity. The Army has said about one-third of their brigade combat 
teams, one-fourth of their combat aviation brigades, and one-half of 
their division headquarters are currently ready.

  Speaking in January about the Army readiness, then-Vice Chief of 
Staff of the Army General Allyn said:

       What it comes down to . . . we will be too late to need. . 
     . . Our soldiers will arrive too late, our units will require 
     too much time to close the manning, training, and equipment 
     gap . . . the end result is excessive casualties to civilians 
     and to our forces who are already forward-stationed.

  We are talking about lives. We are talking about American lives. That 
is a sobering assessment, especially when considering the gravity of 
the threats we face around the world, including, of course, the Korean 
  The NDAA's first priority has to be to rebuild our force and improve 
its readiness, which is what we are in the process of doing right now, 
and we need to get it done. A BRAC round would divert vast resources 
away from this end for savings we would not see for decades to come, if 
we ever did--and we

[[Page S5203]]

are growing, not shrinking. Now is not the time for a BRAC round.
  I hope my colleagues in the Senate will join me in rejecting this 
amendment. However well-intentioned, now is not the time for a 
shortsighted BRAC round.
  There are still Members--I have talked to Senators who are saying 
they really believe, and they have been told, that somehow we are going 
to have more money for readiness if we have a BRAC round. It is exactly 
the opposite. Again, straight from the GAO, they made the analysis of 
the 2005 BRAC, and said the 20-year net present value DOD can expect by 
implementing the 2005 BRAC recommendations has decreased by 72 percent. 
It always costs a lot more on the front end and saves much less in the 
long run.
  With that, I encourage my colleagues to reject this amendment, if 
this amendment is indeed offered.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). Without objection, it is so 

                       Remembering Frank Broyles

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to the 
legendary University of Arkansas football coach, Frank Broyles, who 
passed away August 14 at the age of 92. He spent his life in service to 
the university, its student athletes, and our great State.
  I was fortunate to have been recruited by and played for Coach 
Broyles as an offensive tackle in the early 1970s. For a kid from 
Arkansas, this was a dream come true. Outside of family, the people who 
have had the greatest influences on my life were my coaches, teachers, 
pastors, friends, and certainly Coach Broyles is right at the top. He 
was an icon in Arkansas and a legend in collegiate athletics.
  As head coach of the Razorback football team from 1958 to 1976, he 
turned the school's program into a national powerhouse. During his 
tenure, Coach Broyles led the Razorbacks to seven Southwest Conference 
titles, and a Football Association of America national championship. 
Coach Broyles had tremendous charisma and had a remarkable ability to 
attract and develop talent--both players and coaches. He wasn't afraid 
to seek out talent to support him, and he had an innate ability to see 
the strengths in people. He would turn them loose to use those 
strengths to help the team and those individuals succeed. His recipe 
was to get great people around him to help the program win while 
helping those individuals get to where they wanted to be in their own 
professional careers.
  The roster of assistants under Coach Broyles reads like a Who's Who 
in NFL and college football: great coaches such as Jimmy Johnson, Barry 
Switzer, Johnny Majors, Joe Gibbs, Raymond Berry, and Hayden Fry--and 
the list goes on and on. They were once Coach Broyles' assistants. His 
legacy of producing great assistant coaches is recognized in an award 
named in his honor to recognize college football assistant coaches for 
the work they do. Since 1996, the Broyles Award has been given annually 
to the top assistant coach in college football.
  Frank Broyles' impact on the University of Arkansas went well beyond 
the football field. He implemented his vision for Arkansas athletics as 
the athletic director for more than three decades, helping the 
university's men's program win 43 national championships during his 
tenure. When he retired from the position in 2007, he continued his 
devotion to the University of Arkansas working as a fundraiser at the 
Razorback Foundation.
  Coach Broyles used his notoriety for his most important mission, 
which he undertook in his later years. He became a passionate advocate 
for finding a cure for Alzheimer's and educating Americans on caring 
for loved ones suffering from this disease when his wife Barbara lost 
her battle with Alzheimer's in 2004. He shared the experience of his 
family as caregivers to his beloved Barbara across Arkansas and brought 
his story to Capitol Hill, where he encouraged lawmakers to be 
passionate about Alzheimer's so we can find a cure. He told Members 
they need to turn that compassion into passion to make a difference.
  Coach Broyles spent his final years showing his passion for fighting 
Alzheimer's and helping other families touched by the disease. When his 
family was learning the best way to care for Barbara, they found there 
were limited resources available to caregivers looking for assistance. 
That is one of the reasons they created the Broyles Foundation and were 
inspired to share what they had learned in caring for Barbara to help 
other caregivers. The culmination of that effort was a book, ``Coach 
Broyles' Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers,'' which has been 
translated into 11 languages and distributed across the country.
  After years of advocacy on behalf of those suffering from Alzheimer's 
and their families, the disease he fought so passionately to find a 
cure for ultimately took his life as well. One of the best ways we can 
honor Coach Broyles' legacy is by continuing to fund research in search 
of a cure for this devastating disease.
  Coach Broyles brought the same energy to fighting Alzheimer's that he 
brought to college football and his work on behalf of the University of 
Arkansas on and off the field. He made a tremendous mark on the lives 
of so many student athletes during his years as a coach, athletic 
director, and all-around ambassador for the University of Arkansas and 
for our State.
  I was one of the many who learned from the example Coach Broyles set. 
His leadership, faith, and ability to attract talent and utilize it to 
make our State a better place has been a tremendous influence on me 
through the years. I will be forever proud to be a Razorback and to 
have had the opportunity to play for Coach Broyles.
  Coach Broyles was fond of saying there are two types of people in the 
world: givers and takers. Live your life as a giver, not a taker. We 
lost a giver, but we are so much better for what he gave us.

                     Honoring Deputy Timothy Braden

  Mr. President, I would also like to pay respect to a law enforcement 
officer in my home State of Arkansas who lost his life in the line of 
duty, Thursday, August 24, 2017.
  Drew County Sheriff's Deputy Timothy Braden gave his life while 
serving and protecting the citizens of Arkansas. Deputy Braden was a 
selfless servant who made a career out of helping others. He joined the 
Drew County sheriff's office in February after serving 3 years at the 
McGehee Police Department.
  He is remembered as a kind and hard-working officer who performed his 
job with a positive attitude. He had an appreciation for law 
enforcement and had aspirations of serving as an Arkansas State Police 
trooper. I am grateful for Deputy Braden's commitment to the community. 
He represents the selfless service of our men and women who turn toward 
danger to protect communities and bring criminals to justice.
  He showed his dedication to the community in many ways, including 
being a former member of the Arkansas National Guard and a former Eagle 
Scout of the Year in his hometown, Star City. Deputy Braden's ultimate 
sacrifice reminds us all of the risks members of the law enforcement 
community face on a daily basis.
  My thoughts and prayers go out to Deputy Braden's family, including 
his wife and four young children, his friends, and the law enforcement 
community. I pray they will find comfort during such a difficult time 
as this.
  I join all Arkansans as we express our gratitude for Deputy Braden's 
service and sacrifice.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to question 
the plan for auditing the Department of Defense. The new Chief 
Financial Officer, Mr. David Norquist, presented a plan to the Armed 
Services Committee on May 9. It appears flawed, like a lot of other 
such plans. The Department

[[Page S5204]]

may be audit ready by the September 30 deadline, but the goal--and the 
goal ought to be a clean opinion--isn't in the mix. In its place, we 
get another lame excuse: ``I recognize it will take time to go from 
being audited to passing an audit.''
  We have heard this story over and over for 26 years. When will it 
come to an end?
  I don't think the Pentagon has a clue if the Department is truly 
audit ready. Then, why is the Chief Financial Officer predicting 
failure before the audit even starts?
  Doubletalk is necessary to accomplish that goal. A monster is lurking 
in the weeds, and nobody wants to talk about it. It is the ``deal-
breakers.'' That is a term that is often used in audit reports. They 
are red-flagged accounting issues listed in Department of Defense 
reports for years and years. They are prefaced by this warning: ``The 
deal-breakers prevent clean opinions.''
  If Mr. Norquist wants to win this war, he had better get on top of 
the ``deal-breakers.'' But he ignored them in testimony, focusing 
instead on this apparent distraction: DOD has spent too much time 
``preparing for full-scope audit without starting it.''
  We need to pinpoint ``vulnerabilities''--those are his words, and he 
went on--``to drive change to a clean opinion.'' Suggesting that the 
Department of Defense lags behind on audit starts or needs more audits 
to spot weaknesses seems very wrongheaded. The Department has conducted 
nonstop audits since 1991--294 financial audits, to be exact--and 90 
percent were failures, but a few were full-scope audits with clean 
opinions. Together, the Corps of Engineers and the Military Retirement 
Fund earned 28 clean opinions out of 43 starts. In the case of the 
Corps of Engineers, auditors relied on unorthodox procedures known as 
``manual workarounds'' or ``audit trail reconstruction work.'' Highly 
paid auditors scramble around searching for missing records. These 
procedures work on small jobs, but the point is that they are an 
inefficient substitute for a modern accounting system.
  Now, I have talked about small jobs. To the contrary, on big jobs 
this approach is a nonstarter. Yet, that is exactly where Mr. Norquist 
intends to go--the toughest, the unauditable: the Army, the Navy, the 
Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the rest of the Defense Department. 
This is where auditing hits the wall--over 200 starts without a 
successful finish.
  If these audits begin before the accounting house is in order, the 
Norquist plan may be swallowed up by the swamp. The destructive power 
of the deal-breakers was hammered home by the most important audit so 
far--the Marine Corps audit. Their impact was exposed in a first-rate 
report issued by the Government Accountability Office. I spoke at 
length about that report on the Marines on August 4, 2015. Today, I 
will touch on it just briefly. This background is very, very important.
  Back in September 2008, the Marine Corps, the smallest of the big 
ones, stepped up to the plate. The Marine Corps boldly declared that it 
was audit ready. As a pilot project, the Marine Corps would lead the 
way. High hopes for a breakthrough were not to be. Ten years and five 
audits later, the Marine Corps is still stuck on square one. The 
inspector general and the Government Accountability Office determined 
that it was never ready for audit. It failed for the same reasons as 
all the other audits failed, going back to the term ``deal breakers.''
  To make matters worse, there was an attempt to cover up these 
shortcomings. Initially, a clean opinion was issued. The then-Secretary 
of Defense, Chuck Hagel, gave the Marine Corps an award for being the 
first service to earn a clean opinion. The opinion did not stand up to 
scrutiny. The evidence did not meet ``professional auditing 
standards.'' So the inspector general had to withdraw, leaving Mr. 
Hagel with egg all over his face.
  The deputy inspector general for audit was removed and reassigned, 
and the accounting firm involved lost the contract to Kearney & 
Company, where the now Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Norquist, was a 
  Without strong leadership, the Marine Corps could be the Norquist 
template. This is where we have been before: audit ready but light 
years away from a clean opinion. So that takes you to nowheresville. 
Why go there when you know what you are going to find? Although lessons 
were learned, the end result was mostly waste--$32 million for five 
premature audits. DOD is big, big business for these auditing firms, 
and what do we get? No clean opinion.
  The deal-breakers, which doomed the Marine Corps audit and all the 
others, are alive and well. They are still driving the freight train 
with no fix in sight. Yet, in spite of these formidable barriers, the 
Marine Corps is once again shooting for the moon. It jumped out in 
front of all the other military services by starting a full financial 
audit, which the press calls a ``mammoth task.'' Why would the outcome 
be any different this time around, when we just exposed within the last 
2 years that what they thought was a clean audit was not such a clean 
  The government's expert on accounting--and I call him the expert on 
government accounting because he is Comptroller General Gene Dodaro--
understands the dilemma. The $10 billion spent annually on fixing the 
accounting system, he says, ``has not yielded positive results.'' Money 
is being spent in the wrong places. Mr. Dodaro wonders if the 
Department of Defense has the talent to get it right, and that is his 
  With his plan resting on shaky ground, Mr. Norquist may need to shift 
gears. For starters, the cost of the full financial audits, which are 
touted as the largest ever undertaken, could top $200 million. Spending 
so much money on audits doomed to failure would be a gross waste of tax 
  Now, I am not suggesting that Mr. Norquist back off. Mr. Norquist 
just needs to get a handle on the root cause of the problem, and the 
feeder systems are that root cause. As a main source of unreliable 
transaction data, the feeder systems are the driver behind the deal-
breakers. Fix them, and then the rest should be just a piece of cake.
  Department of Defense reports have repeatedly called for ``testing 
the feeder systems.'' However, according to the Government 
Accountability Office, those tests were never, never performed.

  So the aggressive testing and aggressive verification of transactions 
are the right places to start. Senators Johnson, Ernst, Paul, and this 
Senator are sponsoring an amendment to make that happen.
  Once all of the tricky technical issues are ironed out and testing 
provides confidence that the system is reliable, the plan will gel. 
Audit readiness will be self-evident, not contrived. Full financial 
accounting could begin. Clean opinions should follow, and those clean 
opinions should be our goal.
  There has been 26 years of hard-core foot-dragging that shows that 
internal resistance to auditing the books runs very, very deep. It will 
take strong, confident leadership and strong determination to root out 
that internal resistance to auditing the books. I am counting on 
Secretary Mattis and Chief Financial Officer Norquist to get the job 
done in the shortest time possible.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the pending NDAA. In 
particular, I rise to speak about an amendment that has been previously 
discussed on the floor that is being offered by the Senator from 
Kentucky, Mr. Paul, that deals with the current authorizations for use 
of military force that are justifying American military action in 
Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and numerous other countries.
  The authorizations that currently support military actions were 
passed in 2001 and 2002. About a quarter of us were here and voted on 
those. Three-quarters of us have joined either the Senate or the House 
since those authorizations have been voted on. What that means is that 
we have American troops who are deployed in harm's way, that thousands 
have been killed, that thousands have their lives at risk right now, 
and that three-quarters of Congress has never voted to support the 
military operations that are currently underway. Many of us support 
them or support them with recommendations or reservations or 
qualifications, but three-quarters of us have never cast a vote.

[[Page S5205]]

  These authorizations are, respectively, 15 and 16 years old. The 
authorizations have, essentially, been interpreted in a very broad 
way--first, by the Bush administration; second, by the Obama 
administration; and now by the current Trump administration. I would 
argue that the current interpretation of the authorizations would 
essentially allow, without any approval from Congress, an American 
President to wage war anywhere against any terrorist group for however 
long he wants to.
  That was not the intention of the authorizations when they were 
originally drafted. If you were to go back and talk to those who had 
been here and cast their votes in 2001 and 2002, they would say that it 
was completely beyond their contemplation that what they were voting 
for then, which was going after those who had attacked the Pentagon--9/
11 was yesterday--and the World Trade Center, would 16 years later 
still be used to support military action in a total of 14 countries in 
35 separate instances having been declared by the last three 
  Senator Paul has an amendment on the table, and the amendment is 
this: to sunset the 2001 and 2002 authorizations in 6 months as a 
mechanism for forcing Congress to finally do the job of having a debate 
and defining the legal authority of the military mission that we are 
currently engaged in and putting a senatorial and congressional 
thumbprint on the mission so that those who are risking their lives 
know that they are doing so with a political consensus by the American 
political leadership here in Congress. I am supporting Senator Paul's 
  I think it is way past time for Congress to take this up and for 
everybody to be on the record. I think that our allies need to know 
whether Congress supports the American military missions that are 
currently underway. I think that our adversary needs to know that there 
is a congressional resolve, not just an Executive resolve. Most 
importantly, I think that the American troops who are deployed in 
harm's way every day deserve an answer to the question of whether 
Congress is behind them.
  I came to Congress being very focused on this and to the Senate in 
January of 2013. I gave my first speech about it on the floor in the 
summer of 2013, when President Obama expanded the military action 
against al-Qaida to also incorporate military action against ISIS, 
which did not form until 2 years after the 9/11 attack. I filed my 
first military authorization, seeking to get Congress on board and to 
send to the troops the message that we supported them. That was now 
almost 3 years ago. I was once able to get a vote on an authorization 
in the Foreign Relations Committee. It passed out of committee but died 
for lack of any action on the floor.
  Since 2015, out of a thought that we should try to be at least as 
bipartisan as we could in putting support behind the troops and 
carrying out our article I responsibilities, Senator Jeff Flake of 
Arizona and I have worked together, first, in introducing in 2015--and 
then in reintroducing this year--an authorization for use of military 
force. We have a pending authorization that we filed in June, which has 
been pending in the Foreign Relations Committee, to set forth a 
military authorization with certain conditions to undertake and legally 
justify military action against al-Qaida, ISIS, and the Taliban. That 
has been pending in the Foreign Relations Committee, but there has been 
no particular motive or forcing mechanism that has made the committee 
take this up, bat it around, hear from experts, debate it, amend it, 
and send it to the floor.
  I think, of all of the powers that Congress has, the one that we 
should most jealously guard is the power to declare war. James Madison 
was the drafter of the Constitution, and he gathered great ideas from 
others. The 230th anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution is 
this Sunday, September 17--Constitution Day in Philadelphia. The 
Constitution was a great collection of wonderful ideas, many that had 
been tried out in other nations, but the genius of it was the way in 
which we got the best of the best and tried to put them together in the 

  It has been said by many historians that there were only about two 
items in the Constitution circa 1787 that were truly unique and that we 
were doing for the first time. One was the protection of the ability of 
the people to worship as they pleased without preference or punishment, 
which had been drawn from a statute that had been passed in Virginia in 
1780, the Statute for Religious Freedom. The second idea that was very 
unique to our country and was, really, an effort by the Framers of our 
Constitution to change the course of human history was the idea that 
war should only be initiated by Congress and not by the Executive.
  The Framers of the Constitution knew in 1787 about Executives and 
Executive overreach, especially in matters of war. They knew Kings, 
Emperors, Monarchs, Sultans, and Popes, and they knew that that was how 
war started. Madison decided that we were going to do it differently, 
and the Framers and those who voted in Philadelphia agreed with him. 
The Constitutional Convention's minutes that were taken by Madison and 
others demonstrated what they were trying to do.
  Madison explained it in a letter to President Jefferson about 10 
years later, when Jefferson was grappling with questions of war. 
Madison wrote in the letter that our Constitution supposes what the 
history of all governments demonstrate--that it is the Executive that 
is most interested in war and, thus, is most prone to war. For this 
reason, we have, with studied care, placed the question of war in the 
legislature. Madison was trying to change it so that war could not be 
initiated without a vote of Congress.
  In my view--and I was tough on a President of my own party about 
this--when President Obama decided to initiate offensive military 
action against ISIS in August of 2014, I said: You must come to 
Congress. When President Trump used military might--in this instance, 
weapons against Syria--to undertake the laudable step of punishing the 
use of chemical weapons against civilians, I said: I will support you 
with a vote, but you cannot do that without Congress. That is because 
there is nothing in the authorizations that are currently pending that 
allow the United States to take military action against the Government 
of Syria.
  Yet we have gotten so sloppy about this. Frankly, we have been sloppy 
about it just about since 1787. If I can be blunt, throughout our 
history, regardless of party--Whig or Federalist, Democrat or 
Republican--Members of Congress have often concluded that a war vote is 
a very difficult vote and that, if we could allow the President to 
initiate it without a vote, we might be politically insulated from the 
consequences of the vote. That has been a uniform trend, and it has 
been a nonpartisan one. That is one of the reasons that we are where we 
are right now in Congress's being reluctant to take up war votes. These 
are difficult votes.
  I have been on the Foreign Relations Committee since January 2013 and 
have cast two votes for military action--first, against Syria for using 
chemical weapons in the summer of 2013 and, second, in the matter that 
I mentioned earlier in voting for a war authorization against ISIS in 
December of 2014. I will say that there is no vote that you will ever 
cast that is harder.
  I come from a State with a great military tradition. More people in 
Virginia are connected to the military--either as Active Duty, veteran, 
Guard, Reserve, DOD civilian or military contractor or military 
family--than in any other State. One of my children is a Marine 
infantry commander. Any war vote--if not immediately, then 
prospectively--affects him and the people whom he works with and cares 
deeply about.
  These are very, very hard votes. They are supposed to be hard, but 
that is no reason to duck them. Congress is supposed to take this up, 
not hand any President of any party a carte blanche to go to war 
without a vote of Congress. Even against bad guys like ISIS or even 
against a Syrian dictator who is using chemical weapons against 
civilians, we are not supposed to be at war without a vote of Congress.
  So I am here to support Senator Paul's amendment, which would take 
these old and outdated authorizations and sunset them within 6 months. 
I view his amendment as being an attempt to force Congress to do what 
it should do, which is to have a debate anew after 16 years and come up 
with a crafted legal authority and appropriate

[[Page S5206]]

strategy for carrying out military actions against nonstate terrorist 
  I applaud my colleague from Arizona, Senator Flake, because he and I 
have worked together very hard on this issue. We have a matter that is 
pending. If Senator Paul's amendment passes, the result of his 
amendment will be that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and this 
body will have to grapple with what is an appropriate authorization 
circa 2017 to replace the authorizations from 2001 and 2002.
  We shouldn't be afraid of that discussion. We should relish it and 
protect the power of Congress to decide when we will and will not be at 
war. I believe the version that Senator Flake and I have introduced, 
that was introduced in June, is a good-faith effort to listen to all 
and craft a compromise going forward.
  I will close and say what I have said already. I think Congress 
should not only do this because we are constitutionally required to--
and waging war without an authorization poses all kinds of legal 
challenges that I think are significant; that it is constitutionally 
required should be enough--but I actually really like the reason. I 
like the reason for the constitutional provision.
  Madison and the Framers concluded that we should not order men and 
women into combat, where they are risking their lives and their health, 
if there is not a political consensus by the elected leadership of the 
country that the mission is so worth it that we can fairly ask them to 
risk their lives. If we are afraid to cast a vote because, oh, it is 
too unpopular or it could be too challenging, how can we stand up and 
say we are going to duck that responsibility when the consequence of 
war is that volunteers are being deployed and potentially injured and 
  I will close and just say it seems to me that the sacrifice of the 
millions who serve Active, Guard, and Reserve--of the thousands who are 
deployed overseas in theaters of war right now--their sacrifice should 
call upon us to have a debate and do the job we are supposed to do.
  If the Paul amendment passes, I look forward to working especially 
with my colleague from Arizona and my colleagues on the Armed Services 
Committee and colleagues on this floor to have a debate, have a vote, 
and send a strong message to terrorist groups, to our allies--but 
especially to our troops--that the article I branch of the U.S. 
Government has a resolve and supports them.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I wish to thank the Senator from Virginia 
for his leadership on this issue. He has been at it a long time. The 
two of us have been at it for quite a while. I think this is the year. 
This is the time. We are well past time for an AUMF.
  I wish to thank the Senator from Kentucky for focusing the Senate's 
attention on the 16-year-old authorization for use of military force. 
As a freshman Member of the House of Representatives, I voted in favor 
of the 2001 authorization on September 14, 2001--almost 16 years ago to 
the day--September 14, 2001. I can attest that when I voted for that 
law, I had no idea it would still be in effect 16 years later.
  Since its passage, more than 300 Members of the House who took that 
vote that day, on September 14, 2001--more than 300 Members of the 
House are no longer in office. Of the Senators who voted, only 23 
remain in the Senate today--23 out of 100. That comes out to about 70 
percent of the Congress who has not voted to authorize force against 
terrorist groups abroad.
  It is long past time for Congress to calibrate the legal underpinning 
of the war against terrorism to today's realities. ISIS, for example, 
did not exist when the 2001 law was approved. We have learned a number 
of things since we voted to go to war with the perpetrators of the 9/11 
attacks, and I think it is time to incorporate those lessons into a new 
  For example, we have learned that no administration is ever going to 
want to have the powers granted to it under the 2001 law curtailed. The 
Obama administration fought efforts to put an ISIS-specific AUMF in 
place, and the Trump administration has signaled it believes the 2001 
authorities are adequate, and it does not plan to seek a new AUMF.
  We have also learned that crafting a new AUMF that garners bipartisan 
support is an especially difficult task. I know, because we have been 
trying for a while.
  I think we can all agree, the only thing worse than having the 2001 
statute in place is a partisan vote on a new AUMF.
  Lastly, we have learned that America is strongest when we speak with 
one voice, which means Congress needs to have some buy-in. We have to 
have some skin in the game. Otherwise, we can simply blame the 
administration for any effort overseas.
  We can't let wars against new terrorist groups like ISIS be waged 
only by the executive branch. We in Congress need to weigh in and we 
have to let our allies and our adversaries know we are serious and 
  Taking these lessons into account, I think it is imperative for any 
future terrorism-related AUMF to include a sunset provision that 
requires Congress to put its skin in the game. That way, we can avoid 
being put in the position we are in today--having to vote on an 
amendment to repeal a law that authorizes force against groups that are 
actively planning attacks against American interests.
  Ultimately, I cannot support my colleague's effort to repeal the 2001 
AUMF in 6 months because of the very real risk associated with 
repealing such a vital law before we have something to replace it with. 
Fortunately, I know the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee 
remains committed to considering legislation to repeal the 2001 AUMF 
and to replace it.
  As I mentioned, the Senator from Virginia and I have introduced 
legislation to do just that. That legislation, S.J. Res. 43, would 
repeal the 2001 law and authorize the use of force against al-Qaida, 
the Taliban, and ISIS. It would allow for greater congressional 
oversight of what groups can be deemed as ``associated forces'' of 
those organizations. It also contains a sunset provision.
  So I look forward to working with my colleague from Kentucky and 
other members of the Foreign Relations Committee to move an AUMF that 
can garner bipartisan support. That is the right way to do it--under 
regular order, moving it through the Foreign Relations Committee, and 
then bringing it here to the floor, where we can debate and we can have 
buy-in, and the Senate can vote on an AUMF and then the House. Then, 
the U.S. Government--the Congress and the executive branch--can speak 
with one voice.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of the National 
Defense Authorization Act.
  The Defense bill has a long tradition of bipartisan cooperation, and 
I was glad to join in that tradition as part of the Armed Services 
Committee. As with any far-reaching legislation, there are a number of 
provisions in this I support and some I do not, but, on the whole, this 
bill is a win for national security and a win for Massachusetts.
  Massachusetts has a lot to offer our national security. Each of our 
military bases is unique in making vital contributions to our defense. 
The Massachusetts National Guard has a proud history, dating back to 
1636, and it contains the oldest units of the U.S. Army.
  Today we are proud of our military tradition, and we have a unique 
ecosystem of universities, industries, startups, and military labs, all 
focused on the next-generation needs for our warfighters. Research and 
development is critically important to this effort. It will literally 
save lives. I have made research funding a major priority, and I am 
very pleased we have secured an additional $45 million in funding for 
the Army's Basic and Applied Research accounts, for places like Natick, 
where researchers are doing cutting-edge work to better protect our 
soldiers. Overall, the bill increases funding for science and 
technology $250 million above the President's budget.
  The bill also recognizes the critical role that MIT Lincoln Lab plays 
in national security research, and supports the construction of a new 
advanced microelectronics integration facility that will begin in 2019. 
It also fully funds the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, 
which is doing

[[Page S5207]]

great work connecting DOD with innovative startups in Cambridge and 
around the country.
  Our military bases, which are the lifeblood of their communities in 
Massachusetts, are also receiving much needed facility upgrades. 
Hanscom Air Force Base will receive $11 million to build a new gate 
complex that will dramatically improve its security. Westover Air Force 
Base in Chicopee will receive more than $60 million to construct a new 
maintenance facility and build a new indoor small arms range to improve 
readiness. Natick Soldier Systems Center will receive $21 million to 
improve family housing facilities, bringing our families working at 
Natick closer to the base.
  All three of my brothers served in the military, and I know the 
demands of the military can be hard on families and on servicemembers. 
I have spent a lot of time over the last 9 months working hard with 
both Republican and Democratic Senators to do everything I can to help 
improve the lives of our military personnel and their families. I 
partnered with Senator Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, to introduce the 
Leadership Recognition Act, which has been incorporated into this 
larger Defense bill. Our proposal ensures that our servicemembers get 
the pay raises they deserve.
  Over the last 15 years, Congress directed the Pentagon to raise 
military pay so it was more comparable to civilian wages, but it also 
gave the President the authority to waive the requirement to raise 
military pay. Unfortunately, that keeps happening, and military 
families who are already sacrificing so much don't get the pay raises 
they are entitled to.
  Our new provision restricts the use of this waiver. We promised our 
military their regular pay raises in line with inflation, and they 
ought to get those raises, period. This one is a no-brainer. I am sorry 
it is taking Congress so long to get it done, but we are there now.
  The Defense bill also includes my Service Member Debt Collection 
Reform Act. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has identified how 
unscrupulous debt collectors often take advantage of military 
personnel, for example, by alleging that servicemembers owe disputed or 
imaginary debts and sometimes even by contacting a servicemember's 
commanding officer to intimidate a servicemember into paying a debt 
they don't owe. This is outrageous. My provision requires DOD to review 
and update its policies regarding harassment of servicemembers by debt 
  Our military personnel are also entitled to educational benefits that 
can help them earn a degree or transition to civilian life. However, 
too often military members don't actually use these benefits because 
they can't navigate a frustratingly complicated and bureaucratic 
application process. That is why I offered an amendment to the NDAA to 
make sure DOD works with the Departments of Education and Veterans 
Affairs to automate the application of student loan benefits available 
to military borrowers. These Departments can use this information that 
already exists in Federal databases to expedite student borrower 
benefits for servicemembers, and there is no reason we shouldn't just 
do that right away. This will make life a little easier for our vets, 
and it will help put many of them on the road to a better education and 
higher earnings for the rest of their lives.
  There is another problem in our military that we need to address. I 
was appalled earlier this year at reports that some male servicemembers 
shared nude photos of their fellow female servicemembers without 
consent, and harassed them on a website called Marines United. The 
military is not immune to the rise of so-called revenge porn online. 
Make no mistake, revenge porn is sexual harassment. DOD concluded in a 
May 2017 report that such harassment can lead to sexual assault.
  Just last week, I sat with women in Massachusetts who had been 
sexually harassed and sexually assaulted during their time in the 
military. They volunteered for the military out of a deep sense of 
patriotism, and now they are struggling hard to come to terms with what 
happened to them. Their sense of betrayal--betrayal by their fellow 
servicemembers--ran deep.
  Acts like these are deeply wrong, and they undermine unit cohesion 
and readiness. The Marine Corps and other services have taken some 
positive steps in response to the website scandal, but military 
prosecutors need the tools to combat this specific behavior.
  Commanders have always had the ability to prosecute disorderly 
conduct, but the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not explicitly 
prohibit nonconsensual photo-sharing in all cases. To solve this 
problem, I teamed up with Senator Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska, 
to introduce the Protecting Servicemembers Online Act. Our proposal 
closes the revenge porn loophole, making it unlawful under the UCMJ for 
military personnel to share private, intimate images without the 
consent of the individual depicted. It does this by balancing privacy 
protections and survivors' rights, and I am grateful this year's 
Defense bill takes similar steps to address this revenge porn problem. 
There is more to do to make sure each person who signs up to serve our 
country is treated with dignity and respect, but this is a positive 
  This year's Defense bill also addresses an issue which is very 
personal to me--how we care for victims of terrorist attacks. I had 
been a Senator for only 3 months when the twin explosions went off at 
the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people 
and wounding hundreds more. I was on a flight from Boston to DC when 
the bombs went off. I didn't even leave the DC airport. I just caught 
the next flight back to Boston.
  The next day, I met with Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes. They had 
been recently married. When the bombs went off, they were both 
seriously injured. Each had a leg amputated at the scene. They were 
rushed to separate hospitals, where they underwent more lifesaving 
treatments and where Jessica lost her other leg.
  When I first saw Jessica, she still had gravel and glass embedded in 
her skin--injuries the doctors hadn't yet cleaned up. She was grateful 
to be alive, but worried about Patrick. When I first met Patrick, he 
had the same question: How is Jessica?
  The Boston hospitals at which they received emergency care are among 
the world's best, and they saved many lives on that day, but those 
hospitals don't specialize in the long-term recovery from such complex 
and serious injuries like limb amputation. For that, you need military 
hospitals, like Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, but right 
now, access to Walter Reed requires a special exemption from the 
Secretary of Defense. Jess and Patrick say they owe their recoveries to 
the doctors, physical therapists, and prosthetic lab technicians who 
treated them at Walter Reed and who have treated thousands of troops 
since 2001.
  Earlier this year, Senator Collins, a Republican from Maine, joined 
me in introducing the Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes Act, which 
would allow all victims of terror attacks to receive treatment at 
military medical facilities if there is space available. I hope we will 
never see another attack like the Boston Marathon bombing, but this 
bill will help us be ready if it happens.
  I am glad the Defense bill includes language to implement the policy 
in our bipartisan bill, and I am particularly thankful to Senator 
Collins for working with me so other victims of terrorist attacks will 
be able to access our world-class military medical facilities if they 
need them the way Jessica and Patrick did.
  The work on servicemember pay, GI student loan benefits, and help for 
civilian victims of terror made me proud to be in the U.S. Senate. At 
the same time, I worked hard this year to ensure the Defense bill 
contains a number of provisions that will strengthen our national 
  Like my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee, I am concerned 
about Russian aggression. Too often this year, this issue has been 
obscured by partisan sniping, and it shouldn't be that way. Russia's 
attempts to sow global instability are a major national security 
threat, and on the Armed Services Committee we have treated it that 
  Earlier this year, I introduced the Countering Foreign Interference 
with Our Armed Forces Act. This bill contains two provisions--one 
requiring annual reports on the new and disturbing trend of Russian 
efforts to target our military personnel with disinformation

[[Page S5208]]

campaigns and a second bill in response to the Michael Flynn scandal so 
DOD will be required to report to Congress when a retired general 
officer requests permission to accept payments from a foreign 
government. We need to protect our military and our country from 
outside influence, and these are two steps we can take right now.
  Another area which concerns me is the money we spend to outfit our 
military. The DOD buys a lot of goods and equipment, which means it 
pays an extraordinary amount of money to government contractors. It 
shouldn't be too much to ask those contractors to provide high-quality 
products at a reasonable price, to treat their workers decently, and to 
knock off any efforts to extort extra profits out of the government. I 
am pleased the Defense bill also includes a number of my priorities to 
promote these kinds of reforms.
  Step one in this process needs to be a full audit of the Department 
of Defense. DOD spending makes up half of the discretionary budget, and 
yet the DOD--unlike other government agencies--has never been audited. 
That makes no sense at all. Senator Ernst and I teamed up to fight for 
a provision to incentivize the Department to achieve audit readiness by 
mandating a pay reduction for the Secretary of each military service 
unit that does not achieve audit after 2020, and we got it passed.
  Senator Perdue, a Republican from Georgia, and I joined together to 
press the Defense Innovation Board to study how we can improve the way 
the Department acquires software.
  Senator Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, and I successfully 
fought for a provision requiring DOD to open source software methods 
and open source licenses whenever possible for unclassified, nondefense 
software, in accordance with best practices from the private sector. 
This one is particularly important so contractors can't shake down the 
Pentagon for new piles of cash every time DOD needs to upgrade and 
improve its software systems.
  Finally, after stories about contractors with terrible safety records 
continuing to get DOD contracts, one after another, I successfully 
secured a provision that will require DOD contracting officers to 
consider workplace safety and health violations when they evaluate a 
potential DOD contractor. I introduced the Contractor Accountability 
and Workplace Safety Act to address this issue, and I am very glad it 
has been included in the NDAA.
  This Defense bill isn't perfect. I don't agree with all of it. In a 
Republican-controlled Congress, I wouldn't expect to agree with all of 
it. For one thing, I vehemently disagree with the decision to authorize 
funding for research and development for a new generation of 
intermediate-range missiles. Everyone knows the Russians have violated 
the INF treaty already, but that is not a reason for the United States 
to violate this core anti-nuclear proliferation treaty as well. Our 
military doesn't want it. Our European allies don't want it. Even the 
White House doesn't want it. We obviously don't need it. In a world of 
limited resources, spending tons of taxpayer money to build an 
unnecessary weapon that will make all of us less safe is a terrible 
  I also disagree with the committee's recommendation to zero out the 
funding for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, otherwise 
known as WIN-T. I have listened to the critiques of this system, but 
WIN-T Increment 2 is the only tactical communications system the Army 
currently has that permits communications on the move. GEN Mark Milley, 
the Army Chief of Staff, has noted the importance of remaining mobile 
on the battlefield. ``If you stay in one place longer than 2 or 3 
hours, you will be dead,'' he said. We should improve WIN-T, not junk 
it, and we definitely shouldn't abruptly cancel this program without 
having any earthly idea of what will replace it. Fortunately, this 
program is not zeroed out in the House version so I will continue to 
fight for this during the House-Senate conference.
  Finally, I am concerned about the overall increase in defense 
spending contemplated by this bill, particularly when there is no real 
plan in place to pay for it. The Defense Department is not the only 
agency that is critical to our national security, and most of those 
other agencies are under attack in this Congress. Moreover, it is 
important for us to make the investments we need here at home, to do 
things like address climate change and promote resilience after natural 
disasters, to invest in scientific research and discovery, to improve 
access to healthcare and education, to build new schools, and to repair 
aging roads and bridges. We cannot support a buildup in military 
spending that leaves our country weakened and unable to build a strong 
economy going forward.
  Fortunately, the bill we are putting forward today merely authorizes 
new defense funding. Actual dollar amounts for Federal spending will be 
determined later this year for all of our agencies as part of the 
appropriations process. At that point, all spending--defense and 
nondefense--will be on the table at the same time. If that process is 
going to serve the American people well, it must provide for 
significant increases in spending on education, infrastructure, basic 
research, and the other building blocks of a strong country with a 
vibrant future.
  I commend the leadership of Senators John McCain and Jack Reed 
throughout this process. Our committee has a long history of 
bipartisanship, and Senators McCain and Reed have continued that proud 
tradition. This legislation supports our servicemembers and their 
families, promotes commonsense Pentagon spending reforms, advances 
cutting-edge defense research, and bolsters the Commonwealth's 
innovation economy. Most importantly, this NDAA will make a real, 
positive impact on the lives of Americans. For those reasons, I intend 
to support it, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I stand to support my friend Senator Rand 
Paul and to encourage my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to support his 
proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
  In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers lodged the 
following grievance against King George III: ``He has affected to 
render the military independent of and superior to civil power.''
  A decade later, the Founders included a safeguard in the Constitution 
so ``civil power''--in other words, the people and their duly elected 
representatives--would play an important role in matters of war and 
peace. The safeguard takes up all of seven words in the Constitution: 
``The Congress shall have Power . . . to declare War.''
  Today this safeguard--this crucial check on government--has been 
eroded in several ways and in ways many Americans would find downright 
  Congressional authorization for the use of military force is being 
used in a contorted way to justify wars with an ever-growing list of 
adversaries without any input from Congress or the American people 
about whether we should be fighting those wars in the first place.
  Senator Paul has submitted an amendment to sunset two such 
authorizations: the 2001 authorization of military force against the 
perpetrators of 9/11, and the 2002 authorization of military force 
against the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
  I support my colleague's amendment because the world has changed and 
our adversaries have changed since those authorizations were passed 
into law by Congress. Osama bin Laden is dead. Saddam Hussein is dead. 
In fact, his statue in Firdos Square came down almost a decade and a 
half ago. Yet thousands of American troops are still serving in the 
Middle East based on the same authorizations Congress granted more than 
a decade and a half ago. Instead of changing these authorizations to 
reflect a changing world, politicians have used the old authorizations 
to start new wars in countries other than Iraq and Afghanistan against 
adversaries that had nothing to do with 9/11.

  The 2001 AUMF has been used to justify a drone war across the Middle 
East without a debate or a vote in Congress. It has been used to 
justify air wars in Libya and Yemen without a debate or a vote in 
Congress. It has been used to justify military action against the 
Islamic State terrorist group without a debate or a vote in Congress. 
Some of these military actions may be justified, but the best way to 

[[Page S5209]]

whether they are is to submit them to scrutiny, to debate and vote on 
the matter in Congress as the Constitution prescribes.
  As many of you know, we are in the midst of sort of a populist 
challenge to Washington, DC. Senator Paul and I have listened to 
countless Americans voice many of their grievances against Washington. 
The gist of their complaint in this area is this: They don't feel as 
though their interests are being taken into account in our Nation's 
Capital. Bit by bit, they have watched their representatives cede 
decisionmaking power to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in the 
executive branch. They have watched as a Washington consensus has 
emerged, a kind of faux consensus shared nowhere else other than in 
Washington, DC.
  If you understand these concerns that Washington, DC, is deeply 
unrepresentative of how much of the country feels, then you understand 
a lot about the populist moment. It applies to foreign policy as well 
as domestic policy, to how our government conducts itself abroad as 
well as at home.
  A decade and a half after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 
2001, the American people want a place at the table in decisions about 
war and peace, about life and death. They want to be represented in 
decisions that concern them and their sons and their daughters so 
intimately. If we do not give the American people these things, if we 
don't listen to their concerns, advocate for them in the legislative 
branch and vote on them openly under the light of day in this Chamber, 
then we are failing them as representatives, and we are ignoring the 
Constitution. That is why I am supporting Senator Paul's amendment. I 
hope my colleagues will join me so that this issue can get the vote it 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I have listened intently to the discussions 
this afternoon with respect to the AUMF of 2001 and the AUMF of 2002, 
and all of the speakers have made a point that I think is obvious: We 
have to update our authorizations to account for the past 16 years, to 
account for the transformation of the threats in those 16 years and 
many other factors.
  The Paul amendment does not give us that transformative language so 
that we can make a reasoned judgment. It simply gives us a 6-month 
period of time to work our way through all of the nuances, which are 
very complicated and difficult. I think it would unwittingly and 
unintentionally cause more difficulties than be an effective way to 
urge action and to seek complete action in this Senate and the House 
and a signature by the President.
  Again, I do understand the concerns of all. I supported the 2001 
authorization for the use of military force after the incredible and 
shattering attacks on New York City, Washington, and the crash of an 
aircraft in Shanksville, PA, and we responded.
  Like so many of my colleagues who were here at the time, I did not 
expect that 16 years later we would still be engaged in the evolution 
of that fight that began on 9/11, but we cannot simply stop and 
threaten to pull back our legal framework with the expectation that in 
6 months we will produce a new and more appropriate authorization for 
the use of military force.
  I think we should be on the floor debating such an AUMF. I think it 
should have been debated seriously and thoroughly in the Foreign 
Relations committee, subject to amendment, and brought forward to this 
Senate so that we could debate it. Then we could present it to our 
colleagues in the House and ultimately to the President and also do so 
in the full view of the American public.
  What we are simply doing, if the Paul amendment is adopted, is 
saying: If we can't get our job done in 6 months, then we have no legal 
authority or questionable legal authority to continue operations across 
the globe. It would be an arbitrary 6-month period. I think it would, 
unfortunately, send a very inappropriate signal to our troops and to 
our allies in the fight across the globe. Also, it would send an 
unfortunate signal to our adversaries because it would raise, quite 
literally, the possibility, since we have supported the option, of 
abandoning our legal basis for conducting many of these operations in 6 
months. I think it would be read many places as a signal that the 
Senate has essentially declared that in 6 months we are going to de-
authorize our military efforts. I think that signal would be very 
disturbing to our troops in the field, to our allies, and it would give 
a huge propaganda lever to our adversaries.
  The 6-month period is not related to our operations on the ground, 
not related to the planning and the operational procedures that are in 
place already. It is unrealistic to believe that if we cannot come to 
some resolution in 6 months, we could suddenly withdraw our forces or 
find some other reason to prosecute these wars and these efforts.
  Again, we have to think seriously about what the message would be if 
we adopted this resolution. I think the headline might say ``Senate 
moves to end involvement.'' I am more certain, after multiple trips to 
Iraq and Afghanistan and recently to Syria, that the headline in 
Baghdad and Kabul and Damascus would be ``U.S. moves to end 
engagement.'' That would cause great concern among our allies. It would 
cause great concern among our troops.
  Operationally, our planning and staging is not something that is done 
in 6-month periods. It takes months and months for military forces to 
prepare to go in. Unless we could do something literally next week, we 
would be running into the reality of American military commanders 
wondering whether they should begin to plan for the extraction of our 
forces and the closing of our facilities on these bases. I don't think 
anyone here believes, with the workload we have, that we could tackle 
this issue in the next week or two.
  As the days go by, that contingency becomes more pressing on our 
military forces. Those commanders would have to start making serious 
plans. Those serious plans would be easily communicated to our allies, 
to our adversaries, and to our troops on the ground. As a result, I 
think, again, this is not the responsible way to pursue what we all 
want, which is a more realistic AUMF, one more resonant in terms of 
being consistent with the reality today.
  Some people have argued--in fact, this seems to be the most 
compelling argument--that this will force Congress to act. Well, I do 
think we have to act, but I think what the proponents are missing is 
that our action will not be immediate. As we look ahead, we have 
recesses that we will observe; we will have other requirements; we have 
to get appropriations done. We have a host of legislative items. If 
this effort takes a backseat and we approach the 6 months again, the 
difficulty of conducting military operations will be significantly 
complicated. What is intended to be a forward effort in Afghanistan 
will gradually begin planning for withdrawal, even if at the last 
moment we come forward with a new authorization.
  We have to think about those things because it does affect the troops 
who are defending us today, it does affect how much our allies will be 
supportive of our efforts, and it will also, as I indicated, give our 
adversaries the argument that they have used repeatedly--that the 
United States is going. It was pointed out years ago on one of my first 
trips to Afghanistan--a saying has become commonplace where the Taliban 
would say: ``You all have the watches, we have the time.'' And what we 
are doing with this measure is once again giving them the time so they 
can predict or proselytize with more power that our presence will be 
  Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson have written to the Senate 
leadership expressing their concerns with this approach, and I 
immensely respect both gentlemen. I particularly respect Secretary 
Mattis for his service. He has been on the ground. He knows what it 
takes to lead marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors in action. They 
are quite concerned. They are concerned about issues, too, to which we 
have not devoted full attention.
  As Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson indicate, there is a 
strong argument that the legal basis for continuing to hold captured 
combatants at Guantanamo Bay would be taken away and that these 
individuals could, through our courts, apply for habeas corpus and 
could likely be released--

[[Page S5210]]

something that I don't think anyone would want to see. The presence of 
an AUMF provides a legal basis for holding these very dangerous 
combatants at Guantanamo Bay.
  I think it could also affect our ongoing operations against 
terrorists throughout the globe, particularly our military operations, 
our special forces operations that are focused on terrorists connected 
to Al-Qaida, connected to ISIS, connected to those groups who have, 
over several administrations, been included within the scope of the 
  To a point my colleagues have made, administrations going back to 
President George W. Bush, the Obama administration, and now the Trump 
administration--particularly in the case of the Obama and Bush 
administrations--have adjusted the AUMF to confront new circumstances, 
such as the rise of ISIS, et cetera. They have done so, though, in the 
context of a congressional statute, not because of the expansive power, 
under article II of the Constitution, of the President to defend the 
United States. One issue here is, again, do we want to put ourselves in 
the position where there is no governing law; rather it is simply that 
article II of the Constitution that provides the legal basis?

  For many reasons, I hope we will think carefully about our role with 
respect to Senator Paul's amendment. He has been tireless in his 
advocacy--``relentless,'' I think, is probably a better word. He is 
doing so with the utmost integrity and the utmost commitment to doing 
what he thinks is in the best interest of the United States.
  I come here today to point out what I think our consequences would 
be, which would be very serious and very detrimental to ourselves, 
particularly our troops. I ask all of my colleagues to think clearly 
about what we are doing. We should and we must replace the AUMFs--both 
of them; however, until we have a replacement, we shouldn't create a 6-
month period of uncertainty, doubt, and confusion. That is what it will 
be because it will affect our soldiers, our allies, and in some 
respects, give more leverage to our adversaries.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.