The War and Military Establishment Clauses are among Congress’ enumerated powers found in the Constitution of the United States, Article. I. Section. 8., clauses 11, 12, 13, and 14:
Obama’s Unprecedented War Powers Claims
(Clause 11 – War power)
[The Congress shall have Power] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
(Clause 12 – Army)
[The Congress shall have Power] To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
(Clause 13 – Navy)
[The Congress shall have Power] To provide and maintain a Navy;
(Clause 14 – Military establishment)
[The Congress shall have Power] To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Constitutional War Power: The Founders’ Framework
From the U.S. Senate web site:
The “war powers” are defined here and in Article 2, Section 2. Congress declares war, while the president wages war. However, presidents have committed U.S. forces leading to conflict without congressional declaration of war in Korea, Vietnam, and other places, provoking national argument over the meaning of these powers. Congress’ control of funding the military provides another check on the executive branch.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, January 17, 1961
- The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription – The National Archives
- United States Constitution: Texts, Commentaries, Historical Texts and Judicial Decisions – Law Library of Congress
- CRS Annotated Constitution (LII)
- The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation – FDsys
- Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, Govinfo.gov
- “Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power,” CRS Report RL30315 (31-page PDF)
- “Legislative Powers of Congress: A Brief Reference Guide,” CRS Report 97-434 (20-page PDF)
- “War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance,” CRS Report RL33532 (35-page PDF)
- “War Powers Resolution: Expedited Procedures in the House and Senate,” CRS Report R47603, June 22, 2023 (24-page PDF)
- “A Defense Budget Primer,” CRS Report RL30002 (80-page PDF)
- United States Department of Defense (DoD)
- U.S. Air Force
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Marine Corps
- U.S. Navy
- Senate Armed Services Committee
- House Armed Services Committee
- War; Military Establishment – from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute
- Clauses 11, 12, 13, and 14. War; Military Establishment – FindLaw
- War Powers Clause – Wikipedia
- Declaration of war – Wikipedia
- Letters of Marque and Reprisal – Wikipedia
- United States Air Force – Wikipedia
- United States Army – Wikipedia
- United States Marine Corps – Wikipedia
- United States Navy – Wikipedia
- Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) – Wikipedia
See our course, The Defense Budget.
A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.
All the Laws but One: Civil Liberties in Wartime
The Constitution in Wartime: Beyond Alarmism and Complacency
The War On Our Freedoms: Civil Liberties In An Age Of Terrorism
Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency
Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Dangerous Nation: America’s Foreign Policy from Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century
Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush
The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11
The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World
The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America
The Federalist Papers
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own
The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It
Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty
The Reason of Rules: Constitutional Political Economy
Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice
Presidential War Power
The Imperial Presidency
The Power Elite
Constitutional Conflicts Between Congress and the President
For more than 40 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been teaching professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs about the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.
Our custom on-site and online training, publications, and audio courses include congressional operations, legislative and budget process, communication and advocacy, media and public relations, testifying before Congress, research skills, legislative drafting, critical thinking and writing, and more.
TheCapitol.Net is on the GSA Schedule, MAS, for custom on-site and online training. GSA Contract GS02F0192X
TheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan small business.
Teaching how Washington and Congress work ™