Everyone assumes as soon as a new U.S. president is sworn into office that they automatically become Commander in Chief of all of America’s military. This is NOT true according to the US Constitution.
Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States says,
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”
The key phrase in this is “when called into actual Service of the United States.” So the question then lies in what does it mean “when called into Service?” To get our answer, we must look to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States which states,
- “The Congress shall have Power…
To declare War…
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”
As I read the Constitution, Congress has the authority over the military and only Congress can declare war. That also means that Congress is the body of government that calls the president to become Commander in Chief. Until that time comes, the president has no vital role in the military and its use.
In the case of President Barack Hussein Obama, Congress has never called him to the role of Commander in Chief and therefore he has no legal or constitutional oversight of US military forces. That responsibility lies with Congress, not the White House.
And the way I’ve seen and heard about how the Obamas (Barack and Michelle) treat military personnel that are assigned to them, I don’t think they want him to ever be Commander in Chief. They both treat military personnel as if they are third class citizens not worthy to wipe the Obama’s feet.
I just wish someone in the military and Congress would actually read the Constitution and follow what it says.
Written by Giacomo.