10 Take-Aways from Obama’s Counter-Terrorism Speech

May 26, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015


1. Wants to end the state of perpetual war and focus on more refined defense strategies but will still include lethal targeted action (drones) to address specific threats. 

2. Called on Congress to refine and ultimately repeal Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) mandate, which was put in place after 9/11.

3. Called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government over-reach. Also ordered Attorney General to review existing guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters.

4. Redirecting focus on strategies to mitigate terrorism abroad through development and State Department outreach.

5. Taking force posture out of the hands of CIA (drone program) and returning it to the military.


6. Signed a new Presidential Policy Guidance that codifies lethal targeted action strategy, and includes restrictions on when and where it can be used, and requirements for “near certainty that no civilians will be harmed.“

7. Aims to set up a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action, or an independent body within the executive branch that could do so. 


8. Called on Congress to lift ban on detainee transfers to third countries, and to ultimately close the prison. 

9. Will bring terrorists to justice in U.S. courts and military justice system and will ask Department of Defense to designate a site for military commissions.  

10. Will appoint two new officials, one in State Department and one in Defense, to facilitate transfer of detainees to other countries.