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Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, are seated during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday evening that they think any new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) should be neither time-restricted nor geographically-restricted. As Mattis sees it, that's "because war is fundamentally unpredictable" and ISIS is "transnational." Mattis also told senators "a new AUMF is not legally required to address the continuing threat" posed by terrorist groups.

Why it matters: The deadly Niger ambush has elevated lawmakers' questions about the AUMF currently used to justify military action abroad. It was passed in 2001, long before the existence of groups like ISIS that the U.S. is now fighting.

Other key takeaways:

  • On repealing old authorizations: Mattis added that he does not think the old AUMFs must not be repealed for fear of jeopardizing legal battles with terrorists, including "al-Qaida, the Taliban, and, we believe, ISIS." Tillerson said something similar, but noted new AUMFs should be in place before repealing old ones since "failure to do so could cause operational paralysis."
  • On military force against North Korea: When asked to clarify that Trump has no authorization from Congress to use military force against North Korea, Tillerson answered, "that's my understanding, yes."
  • Tillerson said he does not think there should be operational restrictions, "given the way this particular enemy morphs, changes its tactics."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.