Hagel: Military, Not Obama, Will Make Decisions on Syria Strikes

Obama Gave Centcom Authority to Carry Out Strikes

Testifying to the House Armed Services Committee today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel insisted that Wall Street Journal reports that Obama will personally sign off on every US airstrike in Syria were untrue.

Hagel insisted that President Obama had given the authority for such strikes over to Centcom chief Gen. Lloyd Austin, and that Austin has full authority to carry out strikes inside Syria without the president’s say so.

The White House said the same thing, saying the Syria strikes will mirror the policy in Iraq, and insisting President Obama did not sign off on each of the 160+ US airstrikes launched in Iraq so far in the past few weeks.

The comments aimed to reassure Congress that the president and the military are on the same page in the war on ISIS, though several times comments have emerged that suggest a fairly broad divide between the two, particularly on the question of ground troops.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.