Department of Defense (DOD) programs to train and arm foreign military and security forces, as well as irregular forces such as vetted Syrian oppositionists, are a key pillar of the U.S. campaign to combat the spread of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The fight against IS has drawn congressional attention to the laws enabling DOD to conduct “train and equip” (T&E) programs. (T&E is a term of art with no established definition that generally means providing foreign forces with the skills and materiél to conduct broad counterterrorism [CT] and combat missions.) This “In Focus” provides a synopsis of five authorities that may be used to train and equip foreign forces, groups, and individuals to counter IS activities in Iraq and Syria. It does not cover related authorities to assist partner nations.
For additional reading, see CRS Report R43612, The “Islamic State” Crisis and U.S. Policy, and CRS Report RL33110, The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11.
Date of Report: January 9, 2015
Order Number: IF10040
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