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Operation Yukon Journey (OYJ)

Operation Yukon Journey (OYJ) is the overseas contingency operation designated by the Secretary of Defense in February 2018 to degrade al Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated terrorists in the Middle East. Yukon Journey falls under Central Command and is defined as “Support to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Partner Nations in Yemen.” Operation Yukon Journey (OYJ) is one of three new, classified operations initiated by the Pentagon in February 2018. The Defense Department inspector general noted that “the Secretary of Defense designated three new named contingency operations: Operation Yukon Journey, and operations in Northwest Africa and East Africa.” The three operations, which focus on al-Qaida and ISIS, are classified, the report notes, and the Pentagon has not publicly disclosed their location beyond saying they are in the Middle East and Africa.

President Joe Biden announced 04 February 2021 the United States was ending support for the five-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen. “This war has to end,” Biden told diplomats in his first visit to the State Department as president, saying the conflict had created a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” Biden announced that he would end “all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales”.

Congress had repeatedly invoked its war powers authority by voting to end U.S. participation in this war via War Powers Resolutions and amendments to the FY2019, 2020, and 2021 National Defense Authorization Acts, including provisions that mandated an end to intelligence sharing and logistical support for airstrikes. Most recently, Congress also passed a provision in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act requiring detailed reporting regarding U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s de-facto blockade of Yemen’s air and seaports. Bipartisan majorities of Congress had also voted to block several weapons sales approved by the Trump Administration over concerns about the war in Yemen.

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