The Impact of the 1973 War Powers Resolution on the Military
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The War Powers Resolution was passed over President Nixons veto on 7 November 1973. Since passage, that legislation has generated considerable debate and conflict between the Legislative and Executive branches of government, as every president since Nixon has exercised his constitutional powers as commander in chief of the armed forces and chief architect of Americas foreign policy. But the conflict between the President and Congress also reflects Congressional suspicion of presidential war-making powers, which began in the 19th century, gained momentum during the Korean War, and culminated in the war in Vietnam by a Congress that is no longer satisfied to exercise restraint on the President only through the power of the purse. Congress also wants to be co-determinants of foreign policy, especially when decisions are made for deployment of military forces. Caught in the middle of this controversy is the armed forces of the United States. This paper provides a brief historical overview of presidential war-making powers, the development of the War Powers Resolution, and examines the impacts, both real and perceived, which that resolution has had on military operations since that legislation was passed. It also examines some of the ethical issues facing senior military leaders and makes recommendations for their response in the heat of the war powers debate whenever a national crisis occurs.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics