The United States is currently engaged in one the longest and costliest wars in its history. In the thirteen years since the devastating attacks on 9/11, the United States has waged war against al Qaeda and ideology of global violent jihad. The U.S. military has sought to confront and destroy terrorist organizations wherever they may exist. This open-ended strategy has led to the implementation of a wide range of controversial military programs, most prominent of which are lethal drone strikes. Although the U.S. military has eliminated thousands of suspected terrorists, including most of the original al Qaeda leadership, this militarized and aggressive strategy has radicalized an entire generation of young Muslims and exacerbated the problem. If the United States continues to respond to terrorist threats with unregulated and legally questionable lethal military force, violent extremist ideologies like al Qaeda’s will only continue to rapidly metastasize. What is needed is a paradigm shift in the way the United States fights terrorism – both at home and abroad. The end of the current conflict will look like the adoption of a completely different counterterrorism strategy.
- Sunset the current AUMF by the end of 2016
- Establish consistent, transparent, and regulated procedures for the use of lethal force
- Move the drone program from the CIA to the DoD
- Shift from a military counterterrorism strategy to a criminal justice model to counterterrorism
- Build a Partner Security Capacity (BPSC) in allied states in order to help strengthen regional security
- Refocus diplomatic and messaging efforts in order to improve U.S. to the world
- Centralize development aid under a single cabinet-level agency to increase efficiency and better address the structural roots of extremism