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Congress Authority to Limit Military Ops 2-19-13

Congress Authority to Limit Military Ops 2-19-13

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Published by Brian Iverson
Congressional Research Service Congressional Authority to Limit Military Operations. Constitutional provisions allocating war powers between Congress and the President.
Congressional Research Service Congressional Authority to Limit Military Operations. Constitutional provisions allocating war powers between Congress and the President.

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Published by: Brian Iverson on Apr 02, 2013
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04/02/2013

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CRS Report for Congress
 Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Congressional Authority to LimitMilitary Operations
Jennifer K. Elsea
Legislative Attorney
Michael John Garcia
Legislative Attorney
Thomas J. Nicola
Legislative AttorneyFebruary 19, 2013
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govR41989
 
Congressional Authority to Limit Military OperationsCongressional Research Service
Summary
Controversy continues over the appropriate role that Congress should play in regulating U.S.military operations against foreign entities. U.S. action against Libya reignited consideration of long-standing questions concerning the President’s constitutional authority to use military forcewithout congressional authorization, as well as congressional authority to regulate or limit the useof such force. There may be a renewed focus in the 113
th
Congress on whether or to what extentCongress has the constitutional authority to legislate limits on the President’s authority to conductmilitary operations in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, or other locations.This report begins by discussing constitutional provisions allocating war powers betweenCongress and the President, and presenting a historical overview of relevant court cases. Itconsiders Congress’s constitutional authority to end a military conflict via legislative action; theimplications that the War Powers Resolution or the repeal of prior military authorization mayhave upon the continued use of military force; and other considerations which may informcongressional decisions to limit the use of military force via statutory command or throughfunding limitations. The report discusses Congress’s ability to limit funding for U.S. participationin hostilities, examining relevant court cases and prior measures taken by Congress to restrictmilitary operations, as well as possible alternative avenues to fund these activities in the eventthat appropriations are cut. The report then provides historical examples of measures that restrictthe use of particular personnel, and concludes with a brief analysis of arguments that might be brought to bear on the question of Congress’s authority to limit the availability of troops to servein ongoing military operations. Although not beyond debate, such limitations appear to be withinCongress’s authority to allocate resources for military operations.Portions of this report are taken from an earlier report, CRS Report RL33837,
Congressional  Authority to Limit U.S. Military Operations in Iraq
, by Jennifer K. Elsea, Michael John Garcia,and Thomas J. Nicola.
 
Congressional Authority to Limit Military OperationsCongressional Research Service
Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1
 
I. Constitutional Provisions.............................................................................................................. 1
 
Congress’s War Powers ............................................................................................................. 3
 
The Commander-in-Chief Clause .............................................................................................. 7
 
II. Statutory Limitations on the Continued Use of Military Force ................................................. 14
 
Historical Practice ................................................................................................................... 14
 
Implications of the War Powers Resolution ...................................................................... 16
 
Rescinding Military Authorization Versus Cutting Appropriations: Procedural andOther Considerations ............................................................................................................ 20
 
Legal Consequences of Congressional Rescission of Military Authorization, AbsentAdditional Congressional Action ......................................................................................... 22
 
Judicial Interpretation ........................................................................................................ 22
 
Inherent Presidential Authority to Use Military Force AbsentCongressional Authorization .......................................................................................... 26
 
III. Use of the Power of the Purse to Restrict Military Operations ................................................ 27
 
Procedural Considerations ....................................................................................................... 29
 
Availability of Alternative Funds ............................................................................................ 30
 
IV. Limiting Deployment of Military Personnel ............................................................................ 32
 
V. Analysis and Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 34
 
Contacts
Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 39
 

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