New Brief: Military Power and Congress

When most people think about who in the United States oversees the military, they think about the president. As commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, the president has wide authority to make decisions that affect the various branches of the military, which is especially true when it comes to fighting an enemy. Determining troop movements or strategy for engaging in combat are classic aspects of the commander in chief power.

But that is not the only military power contained in our Constitution. Indeed, the Constitution gives Congress multiple powers for overseeing the military and ensuring its functionality. These powers are found in Article 1 – the Article that focuses on Congress and its role in our government – and includes the power to provide for the common defense, declare war, raise and support an Army and Navy, make rules and regulations for the military, and to purchase land for military bases.

So how does this divide work in reality? Let’s look at two of those powers and see how they have been utilized throughout U.S. history.

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One Research Boulevard, Suite 104, Starkville, MS 39759

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One Research Boulevard, Suite 104, Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 325-8409 • Fax (662) 325-8623

201 Mass. Ave., NE, Ste. C-7, Washington, D.C. 20002

(202) 546-1837 • Fax (202) 546-3841