Sending Office: Phillips, Dean
Sent By:

Requesting Clarity on Strategic Goals:

Sign onto Letter to President Trump

Urging Comprehensive Strategy in Southwest Asia

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Wednesday, January 15th COB 


Dear Colleague,

I invite you to join me in sending a letter to President Trump requesting the administration answer additional questions regarding the overall strategy for U.S. foreign policy in Southwest Asia, particularly related to curbing Iranian aggression and nuclear
proliferation, and countering the Islamic State.

I would like to provide the administration with another opportunity to expand on its strategy for the region in a more comprehensive manner. Additionally, the letter addresses the need to revisit the AUMF and have a thoughtful, bipartisan discussion on how
best to approach this subject for future challenges.

As we continue to send our men and women in uniform across the world to secure our embassies and interests in the region, Congress, the Administration, and the American people must be willing to have serious and open conversations on the strategic goals
and principles of our nation’s foreign policy.

If you have any questions or would like to sign onto the letter, please email Sophie Mirviss with the office of Congressman Dean Phillips at



Dean Phillips





January XX, 2020


President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20050


Dear President Trump:


We write to you about U.S. foreign policy and strategy in Southwest Asia, especially in light of the recent hostilities with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the growing unrest in the region.


We understand that the ongoing conflict with Iran and its proxies, including Shiite militias in Iraq, have continued to escalate and to pose an existential threat to our national security. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Defense conducted an operation
at your direction to kill Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad and, in response, Iran launched ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq hosting U.S. troops. In addition, we are increasingly concerned that the current
Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) do not accurately reflect the threats the United States face today, nor do they provide Congress with the necessary ability to conduct its constitutionally mandated oversight.


We are pleased that your administration honored our request and briefed Congress on the ongoing situation in Iran and Iraq. However, we are disappointed the briefing did not include any explanation as to what your overall strategy is for U.S. presence in
the region, for curbing Iranian aggression and nuclear proliferation, and for countering the Islamic State.


Therefore, we respectfully request your administration answer the questions below to facilitate a discussion on these important questions of national security. The answers to these questions can come in the form of a classified briefing to the House Foreign
Affairs, Senate Foreign Relations, House and Senate Armed Services, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence committees to provide your administration with the opportunity to expand on these topics more


  1. You have authorized the deployment of an additional 3,500 personnel from the 82nd Airborne Division to the region in addition to the 750 Marines already there as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SP-MAGTF).
    1. What is the task and purpose for each major unit deploying to Southwest Asia?
    2. What is the end goal we would like to see from an increased deployment of U.S. personnel in the region?
    3. How will an increase in U.S. personnel in the region impact Iranian aggression and nuclear ambition?
    4. What proactive steps are we taking to protect our troops in the region?


  1. What are the diplomatic, development, and military strategies for U.S. interests as it pertains to Iran and how are they synchronized together? How does our shared goal of Iranian nuclear nonproliferation factor into these strategies? How does
    our relationships with our NATO allies and strategic regional partners, including Iraq, factor into these strategies?


  1. What are the diplomatic, development, and military strategies for the U.S. mission in Iraq and how are they synchronized together? How does our shared goal of ensuring the enduring defeat of the Islamic State factor into these strategies?


  1. Does the U.S. have a grand strategy for American presence in the region and how do you understand this most recent exchange of events to be beneficial for its implementation? 


Lastly, we believe there are opportunities to revisit the AUMF and have a thoughtful, bipartisan discussion on how best to approach this subject for future challenges. In addition to fully developing a sound and synchronized foreign policy strategy, we understand
that it is vital that the United States also have an AUMF that allows both Congress and the Executive to fulfill their constitutionally mandated duties. We look forward to having that discussion with your administration in the coming months. 





The Honorable Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense

The Honorable Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Honorable Joseph Maguire, Acting Director of National Intelligence

The Honorable Gina Haspel, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff





Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Foreign Affairs

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