Following two days of airstrikes against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) targets in Yemen, it was revealed Friday that President Donald Trump has granted his military commanders the power to authorize military strikes in certain countries without his permission.
According to the Washington Examiner, Trump instituted the new approval process when he gave the go-ahead for a Jan. 29 special operations mission in Yemen that resulted in the death of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens.
Commanders already had the authority to give the green light for operations in countries with a significant U.S. military presence, but that was not the case under former President Barack Obama in countries such as Yemen, which does not have many American military personnel. Commanders complained that the process for launching strikes in those countries was clunky and lengthy. The new rules make it more streamlined.
Trump will be kept abreast of situations, but Secretary of Defense James Mattis and military leaders who serve under him now have the power to make decisions on their own.
"This was an authority that was delegated by the president, through the secretary of defense to the Central Command commander to carry out," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told the Examiner.
"I don't want to telegraph future operations, but this is part of a plan to go after a very real threat, to ensure they are defeated and denied the opportunity to plot and carry out terrorist attacks from ungoverned spaces," Davis said.
The U.S. military launched several dozen strikes against the AQAP on Thursday and Friday via manned and unmanned aircraft. Davis said at least 50 of them were carried out.
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