Washington( CNN) President Donald Trump’s decision to delegate authority over troop degrees in Afghanistan has been lauded by those who feel he’s correcting Obama administration overreach, even as it elevates concerns that he may be conceding too much civilian control of the military.
Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Thursday that Trump had given him authority over Afghanistan troop levels, a little more than a month after the President had given him control over the number of US soldiers operating in Syria and Iraq. Mattis is expected to send some 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
Former defense officials tell civilian oversight of the military is not just an important check in a healthy democracy, it ensures that larger strategic considerations are taken into account — while others question whether the Trump administration has a broader strategyat all. Former officials likewise stressed that even if a president delegates some decisions, there’s no avoiding the fact that ultimate responsibility rests with the commander-in-chief.