Tuesday, April 21, 2009

National Defense

Congress must declare war against a Foreign Sovereign or return our Militia and Army to us immediately. The job of defending us from terrorism and piracy rightfully belongs to the Navy and does not require a formal declaration of War. To this end, resources for the Navy and Marine Corps should be dramatically increased immediately. Clearly our citizens and their property have become targets around the world and our President has all the Constitutional authority he/she needs to administer their common defense unless and or until the Congress reduces the funding for the Navy to the point that it is no longer able to execute the President’s plan for that defense.

The Constitution refers to what we call “National Defense” as “the common defense.” This more precise reading establishes the governments charge to protect its Citizens, and their property, wherever they are in the world. There are many ways to protect our citizens, the greatest of which is the deployment of military forces. For this purpose, the President has at his/her disposal—at all times—the Navy and Marine CORPS (part of the Navy). The size of these military branches are controlled by the funding Congress authorizes for them and the Congressional authority to perpetually fund them is found in Article I § 8. These forces are uniquely suited to defend us from international terrorism and piracy and the President can use them as he/she sees fit. If the people do not like how he uses them, then they can elect a new President in the next election. If the Congress does not like how he/she is using them, Congress can reduce their funding to the point that they become ineffective as a fighting force.

I am very careful to leave out the Army, National Guard, and the Air Force (Constitutionally part of the Army) from the list of Military Forces that the President has access to at all times. True enough, the President is the Commander and Chief of all of these forces as well; however, under Article I § 8 the Congress must raise and support an Army before the President can have access to it. Moreover, the Congress may only appropriate money for that purpose for two years. Because of the “Cold War”, the Congress has appropriated Money to supply the President with a “Standing Army” every two years since the end of World War II. Few would attempt to argue that the Cold War continues. Why then is the Congress still appropriating Money for a Standing Army when the Constitution forbids this perpetual appropriation? While the Constitution does not explicitly state that the Army must only be raised in time of declared war, its position in the paragraph, right after the power to declare war, and the time limitation on the appropriation, heavily insinuates that a declaration of war is needed to raise an army or call forth the Militia.

Reading Article I § 8 in its entirety and context, it is clear to me that the Navy, Army, and Militia are three distinct entities. This distinction is important because, unlike standing armies, the Congress is allowed to provide for the Militia (National Guard) perpetually. As with standing armies though, the President does not have access to the Militia at all times because Article I § 8 requires Congress to “call forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions…” How is it then that the National Guard is being deployed around the world to fight terrorism or to secure our “National Interests” since fighting terrorism should be the job of the Navy without a formal Declaration of War and of the Army with one and in either case has nothing to do with suppressing an insurrection or repelling an invasion? This point is critical because according to one august member (Ron Paul) of the same Congress that voted to extend to the President the authority to use force to defend us from terrorism (a resolution I have already argued was constitutionally unnecessary) there has been no formal declaration of war against any Sovereign supporting terrorism, there has been no insurrection to suppress, nor invasion to repel. An attack or raid is not an invasion although it is an act of war if committed by a foreign sovereign and should be responded to with a formal declaration.

Furthermore, since there is supposed to be no other standing army besides the Militia, the considerable appropriations for the Army and Air Force should be redirected to the National Guard—not reduced—and the active duty personnel should be redirected to their state militias to train and discipline them. Historically, the only active duty Army, outside of a declared war, was the West Point Cadets and Staff, and an elite cadre of Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Offers that were used to train and discipline the Militia in accordance with the letter of Article I § 8 which authorizes the Congress to do exactly that. The active duty divisions should be redirected to the states wherein they reside and become part of their Militia until they are called up for a declared war. We could provide ten times the combat capability with the same expenditure in capital if we were abiding by the Constitution on this issue.

And what, pray tell, should we do with all that combat power if they are not to be deployed for a war immediately. First, I will address that question in more detail under Foreign Policy. Second, the Constitution requires that these forces be prepared to repel an invasion or suppress an insurrection. Given the size of our country, these forces then must be considerable. Lastly, we do have thousands of miles of borders to protect and currently the flood of illegal immigrants across them could and should be argued as the very definition of the invasion that the Constitution requires the Militia to defend us from. Brigade Combat Teams, and their support elements, from all the States could take turns on one-year tours defending our borders. Ranges and maneuver sites could be co-located so as to provide our troops with rigorous and meaningful training when not on guard duty. Additionally, there are always natural disasters in need of rapid response. In other words, there is plenty for our Militia to do right here at home unless and until a war is declared by the Congress against a Foreign Sovereign…


RJ Harris
Norman, OK
Oklahoma Fourth District
Constitutional Conservative Republican

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