Thank you, Eric Johnson, for your response. I should probably have said that in March 2017, President Trump delegated authority for decisions regarding rules of engagement in counter-terrorism actions to field commanders in “areas of active hostilities,” not requiring the strict scrutiny on the use of lethal force set by President Obama’s Presidential Policy Guidance of 2013.
The 2013 PPG required: 1) Near certainty that the terrorist target is present; 2) Near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed; 3) An assessment that capture [of the suspect] is not feasible at the time of the operation; 4) An assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S. persons; and 5) An assessment that no other reasonable alternatives exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons — before authorizing a U.S. military action.
But I would readily admit President Obama did not always follow these guidelines. I would ask you to consider the Tongo Tongo raid in Niger on Oct. 4, 2017, where under current guidelines, U.S. troops were sent on a vaguely-defined mission based upon faulty intelligence that resulted in their ambush by Al Qaeda in the Greater Sahara and the death of four U.S. and five Nigerien troops.
And I would ask Senator Risch to hold a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting to consider whether these changed guidelines have resulted in increased casualties, whether American, Yemeni, Somali or Nigerien.
Eric D. Meyer