This report is provided in accordance with Section 1264 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (Pub. L. No. 115-91), as amended by Section 1261 of the NDAA for FY 2020 (Pub. L. No. 116-92), codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1549. It constitutes the calendar-year 2020 annual report on changes to the legal and policy frameworks from the preceding calendar year for the United States’ use of military force and related national security operations. President Obama issued the “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations” on December 5, 2016. Pursuant to Section 1264, as amended, former President Trump submitted reports on March 12, 2018, and October 16, 2020. Consistent with Section 1264(c) of the NDAA for FY 2018, as amended (50 U.S.C. § 1549(c)), this report contains a classified annex.

Although this report covers 2020 and thus addresses a period before the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, we note that on February 19, 2021, President Biden submitted a notification in accordance with Section 1264(b) of the NDAA for FY 2018, as amended (50

U.S.C. § 1549(b)), describing a change to the legal and policy frameworks for the United States’ use of military force and related national security operations.

2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force

The classified annex contains information about the application of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Pub. L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224 (2001) to particular groups.

Application of Key Domestic and International Legal Principles to Key Theaters

Iraq: At the direction of former President Trump, U.S. forces conducted an air strike in Iraq on January 2, 2020, killing Major General Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force. Former President Trump provided his explanation for the legal and policy frameworks for this use of military force in a notice provided to Congress on January 31, 2020, in accordance with Section 1264(b) of the NDAA for FY 2018, as amended (50 U.S.C. § 1549(b)).

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