Defense

As a former member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a Vietnam combat veteran, I’m well aware of the threats America faces. I’m committed to providing our Armed Forces and Intelligence Community everything they need to defend our nation. However, military action should always be our last resort. The President must exhaust all diplomatic options before entering the United States into any conflict. And we must all be mindful of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform, and their families, make in service of this country.

Authorization for Use of Military Force
The President must obtain congressional approval for the use of military force before putting our troops in harm’s way—as our Constitution expressly requires. I’m troubled Democratic and Republican Administrations have ignored this vital, constitutional provision in recent times. And I’m especially concerned by how presidents of both parties have stretched the legal bounds of the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to order our Armed Forces into combat the world over. These laws, which sanctioned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, were never intended to give the President unilateral military authority.

I’ve long-supported repealing the outdated 2001 and 2002 AUMF, the latter of which I voted against in the first place. I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 1274, which would repeal the 2001 AUMF. Congress must pass a new authorization that clearly specifies the limitations under which the President can employ military force.

Yemen
American involvement in Yemen is the perfect example of executive overreach. President Barack Obama committed U.S. forces to support the Saudi-led coalition there in 2015, claiming authority granted under the 2001 AUMF. The current Administration has expanded our role in Yemen using the same authority. In my view, these actions are highly suspect. Yemen’s civil war hadn’t even begun when Congress voted to pass the 2001 AUMF and Presidents cannot use old authorities to send troops into new conflicts. That’s why I voted to pass H.J.Res. 37, which would end U.S. support for Saudi airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Syria
The President’s rapid, unplanned withdrawal from Syria by tweet is irresponsible. We must review the situation on the ground and develop a plan to withdraw our troops that makes sense for our strategic goals and does not increase the risk of harm to American servicemembers, Syrian civilians or our Kurdish allies. Despite our recent battlefield successes, ISIS remains a credible threat to us and to the region and we cannot permit them the opportunity to regroup.

Please know I will continue to strongly assert Congress’s constitutional role in defense and military policy and I will thoroughly evaluate all information whenever our nation considers putting our men and women in uniform at risk. While it’s always best to resolve our conflicts peacefully through diplomatic means, I will keep supporting necessary resources for our Armed Forces so they are ready and able to defend us.

More on Defense

Jun 19, 2020 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that five local students have been nominated and accepted offers to our nation’s military service academies, including U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy. A statement from Thompson is below.

Apr 7, 2020 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02) wrote to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asking him to remove Acting Secretary Thomas Modly, citing Modly’s unacceptable attack on Captain Crozier in remarks to Crozier’s former crew. In that address, he called Crozier stupid and naïve for alerting Navy leadership to the dangers of the spread of Coronavirus among his crew. A copy of the letter is below.

Apr 6, 2020 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) defended the actions of Captain Brett E. Crozier, a Santa Rosa native and a U.S. Navy captain who was removed from his command after alerting Navy officials as to the dangers of spreading Coronavirus on his aircraft carrier. In remarks leaked in news reports today, the Acting Secretary of the Navy referred to Crozier as “stupid” and “naive” to his former sailors. Thompson released the below statement.

Jan 9, 2020 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), a combat veteran and former member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, voted to pass H. Con. Res. 83, a War Powers Resolution designated to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran. The legislation passed on a bipartisan vote. This resolution sends a message that the President must protect American lives by de-escalating tensions with Iran and follow Constitutionally-mandated protocol when deciding whether to use military force.

Apr 17, 2018 Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), announced he would cosponsor a resolution to define limited terms for the use of military force in the Middle East.

Apr 13, 2018 Press Release

Washington – Military veteran Members of Congress, including Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Rep. Bobby Rush (IL-01), Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33), Rep Seth Moulton (MA-06), Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), and Rep Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) released the following joint statement in reaction to the president’s public and social media discussion of military strategy in response to the apparent chemical attack in Syria over the weekend.

Feb 2, 2018 Press Release

Rep. Thompson, former member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on the release of the Nunes memo:

Jun 8, 2017 Press Release

Washington – Today, Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the ongoing investigation into the Administration’s alleged tied to Russia and the reasons why the President abruptly fired him last month. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)—former Member of the House Intelligence Committee—released the following statement:

May 25, 2017 Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) introduced a House Resolution disapproving of the President’s irresponsible and negligent handling of classified information. This resolution comes in the wake of reports that the President shared critical intelligence information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Apr 17, 2017 Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) returned from a Congressional trip to South Korea and Japan, where he met with leaders to discuss our security in the region. During his trip, Thompson inspected the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South Korea and North Korea, discussed defenses with General Vincent K. Brooks, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, and attended numerous briefings related to national defense.