[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
- The President was authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force (and what was "necessary and appropriate" was, implicitly, left to the judgment of the President). That's a pretty unlimited grant of authority, and clearly, because of the title, includes an authorization to use "military" force.
- Not only does the President get a virtually unlimited right to use military force, he gets the ability to "determine" the nations, organizations, or persons against whom that military force can be applied. All the President has to do, before using military force, is to "determine" that a nation, organization, or person either "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the 9/11 attacks, or "harbored" any such organization or person. Again, that grant of authority gives the President a broad right to use any force he thinks is necessary and appropriate against any nation, organization, or individual that the President finds is in some way responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
- The "purpose" for which this grant of authority is given to the President is actually quite specific. That purpose is to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by the same nations, organizations or persons who carried out the 9/11 attacks.
- First, in the NDAA, Congress affirms the AUMF, but then explicitly states that the military force authorized by the AUMF "includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons ... pending disposition under the law of war."
- The "covered persons" named in Section 1021(b)(1) include "a person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks." Nothing much new here, in other words. The President is still authorized to go after those responsible for 9/11, and can use the military to detain any person involved in 9/11 either directly, or by way of aid and assistance.
- However, there is something radically new in the NDAA, in Section 1021(b)(2). In that section, the right of the military to detain persons is expanded to include "a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."