Under the policy, strikes would be expanded to include “foot-soldier jihadists” who do not necessarily have leadership roles, instead of allowing strikes only if militants are considered a “continuing and imminent threat” to U.S. citizens.
The proposed strikes would also no longer have to go through high-level vetting, according to the Times. The rollbacks would apply to commando raids and drone strikes outside of conventional battlefields, and would affect missions in countries where the U.S. has not targeted active Islamic militants, as well as countries such as Yemen, Libya and Somalia, where the U.S. are taken aim at militants, according to the report.
The proposal, which has taken shape over the past few months, will intensify the fight against terror organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and al Qaeda. The proposal is likely to enrage human rights groups advocating for increased limits and bans on drone strikes to avoid civilian casualties.
However, the Trump administration will keep the requirement that there needs to be “near certainty” that no civilians will be killed during an attack.
The reported policy illustrates President Trump’s promise to go after jihadists with increased force, which he repeatedly advocated for on the campaign trail. Trump reaffirmed this mission in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, vowing to crush “loser” terrorists. “The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people,” he said.