Today, senators of the US Armed Services Committee will receive a confidential briefing on the deaths of four US soldiers in Niger earlier this month.
The deaths, along with a general lack of understanding of the US’ role in Niger, have reignited debate in the Senate over presidential war powers and the authorisation of military force.
Using presidential powers that allow military action against any state or non-state actors, the US presence in Africa has grown to include more than 6000 troops, 800 of which are in Niger, and span 53 countries.
In an attempt to claw back power from the Oval Office, Democratic Senator Jack Reed and Republican Senator John McCain are working on a proposal to strengthen the 1973 War Powers Act, which allows Congress to veto overseas military engagements.
While events in Niger have brought attention to the US military’s role in Africa, the limited time left for debate in Congress is likely to keep the question of war powers sidelined until next year.