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 The RMA Enables The President To Start Wars Without Congressional Approval

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Deckard



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PostSubject: The RMA Enables The President To Start Wars Without Congressional Approval   Thu 27 May 2010, 7:45 pm

After having read this document (written in the direct aftermath of the 2003 Iraqi invasion), the following will become clear to you:
* - The decision to invade Iraq and declare the end of military operations within 40 days was a deliberate one
* - The RMA shifts the balance of power to the executive branch's favor at the cost of diminished Congressional approval. Like the document itself tacitly admits, this: "reflects a drift toward less democratic procedures".
* - The President has a window of 60 to 90 days in which he can declare war, engage precision warfare against the enemy and declare key objectives to be achieved by the end of that timeframe - all without needing Congressional approval from Congress or having to run the risk of being tried for illegal crimes of aggression.

There's more in this document, but those are the key points.

http://www.nps.edu/Academics/centers/ccc/publications/OnlineJournal/2003/sept03/strategy.html

http://www.nps.edu/Academics/centers/ccc/publications/OnlineJournal/2003/sept03/strategy.pdf

Quote :

The RMA and War Powers
Strategic Insights, Volume II, Issue 9 (September 2003)
by Lukasz Kamienski


Strategic Insights is a quarterly electronic journal produced by the Center for Contemporary Conflict at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of NPS, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Click here for a PDF version of this article

This Strategic Insight explores the impact of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) on the roles played by Congress and the President when it comes to decisions for war and peace, and the way the RMA is changing the distribution of war-making powers between the two branches of government. While the information-driven RMA is changing the character of wars fought by the United States, it also seems to be shifting the war powers "balance" in favor of the executive branch. The RMA appears to be strengthening virtual Presidential war powers, while weakening the position of Congress.

War Powers in Theory and Practice

According to the war clause of the Constitution, "The Congress shall have power … to declare war (…)."[1] There can be no doubt that the intention of the Founding Fathers was to give the legislature an authority to initiate war. Constitutionally, any use of armed forces abroad requires an explicit Congressional authorization. This, however, is not necessary in case of an attack on the United States, because such an act of aggression would mean that war had already been initiated.[2] The President not only has the power but the duty to repel any sudden attack despite a lack of Congressional authorization. The executive branch was given narrow war powers. They are limited to the Constitution's commander in chief clause, which 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."[3] Alexander Hamilton explained the essence of this clause in the following way: "when war is 'authorized or begun' the president is to command the military operations of American forces."[4] The legal powers of war and peace also were included in the checks and balance system that is reflected in the organizing principle of the separation of powers. Richard Neustadt characterized this model as "separated institutions sharing powers."[5] Nevertheless, as historical practice shows, this model represents only the Weberian ideal type. Unilateral presidential actions in foreign affairs resulted in a "revision" of these constitutional principles.

The shift in war-making authority from the legislative to the executive occurred over time. The turning point in this process was the Korean War and President Truman's unilateral decision of June 1950 to engage the U.S. armed forces in hostilities on the peninsula. This war, which was described by the administration as a "police operation" rather than a war, set a precedent as a "presidential war" waged without any authorization from Congress.[6] Truman's successors followed suit. The rise of the executive at the expense of Congressional prerogatives led Arthur M. Schlessinger, Jr. to talk about the "imperial presidency." Such a "shift in the constitutional balance," wrote Schlessinger, "received its decisive impetus … from foreign policy; above all, from the capture by the President of the most vital of national decisions, the decision to go to war."[7] Thus, the constitutional presidency was transformed into the so-called "imperial presidency."

In the face of a serious weakening of the presidency that was a result of the Vietnam War and the Watergate affair, Congress attempted to recover its constitutional war powers by passing The War Powers Resolution (WPR) of 1973.[8] Its aim was to retrieve and formalize Congressional control over Presidential military actions. The WPR can be summed up in four clauses:

1. A consultation requirement stipulates "The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances…" (Section 3).
2. A reporting requirement obliges the president to report to Congress when U.S. armed forces have been engaged in hostilities "in the absence of a declaration of war" (Section 4).
3. A "sixty-day clock" gives the president two months for concluding a military action plus an extra 30 days under a Congressional extension (Section 4[a][1]).
4. Congress can direct the removal of U.S. forces by passing a concurrent resolution (Section 5[c]).

Although the goal of the WPR [War Powers Act] was to stimulate a genuine dialogue between the legislative and the executive branches on issues of war and peace and to revive the constitutional war powers ascribed to Congress, it had the reverse effect.[9] The Resolution enhanced Presidential war powers. As a result, "The presidency is understood to be proactive in the exercise of the war power, while Congress, for the most part, is understood to be reactive." The contemporary American RMA has further strengthened this model.

The RMA and the "Imperial Presidency"

A President who launches a military operation without a congressional authorization will attempt to make the use of force short and decisive. It is desirable to terminate an engagement within the 60 to 90 day limit imposed by the War Powers Resolution. Since long and large-scale interventions may lead to a political conflict between the Presidency and Congress, this threat undoubtedly has an impact on Presidents' conduct of foreign affairs. Such political conflict might weaken and undermine a President's position as a Commander in Chief or as a leader of an international coalition. A short and decisive war, however, does not pose a threat of a constitutional conflict between the President and Congress.

The RMA facilitates fighting these quick wars. It reflects "the Napoleonic concept of war" which is typical of the American war culture, namely "that only decisive results are worth having."[11] Information dominance and supremacy in high-tech conventional weapons are supposed to enable the United States to win wars quickly. Rapid and precise air strikes paralyze an opponent's military and civilian infrastructures. This, in turn, makes ensuing land operation faster, more predictable and less costly.

The United States has conducted several "RMA wars": the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the Kosovo war in 1999, and the war with Iraq in 2003. The RMA allows various administrations to conduct "Presidential wars" (with no Congressional authorization) within the time limit set by the War Powers Resolution. In October 2002, for example, Congress passed joint resolution 114 authorizing President George W. Bush to "use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security interests of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq and (2) to enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."[12] Congress thus made irrelevant its prerogative to declare war. A Republican Representative, Ron Paul summed up the behavior of the legislature in the following words: "Congress would rather give up its most important authorized power to the President and the UN than risk losing an election if the war goes badly."[13]

Avoiding Casualties

If a U.S. administration suffers far greater casualties than expected in a given conflict, then it is likely that the Vietnam syndrome might reemerge in American politics. Congressional opposition to the conflict would grow. As a result, the President's position would be weakened and his options for action narrowed. This could be seriously damaging particularly given the congressional threat of demand for force withdrawal (Section 5[c] of the WPR). The RMA, however, helps to avert this scenario by minimizing casualties among combatant and noncombatants on both sides of the conflict. Thus, the socio-psychological dimension of the RMA reflects Western trends toward the humanization of warfare. Precision munitions, long-range missiles and unmanned vehicles move soldiers away from the battlefield, while information superiority facilitates highly effective operations that minimizes losses on both sides and reduce the likelihood that attritional engagements will take place. Indeed, a paradox of this post-heroic warfare is that more casualties are caused by friendly fire and accidents on the side possessing information superiority than are caused by enemy action.

The RMA helps Presidents keep public support for military actions while avoiding conflict with Congress, thereby strengthening the executive vs. the legislative branch of the U.S. government in terms of war powers. This situation has been sanctioned by the practice of several administrations and a passive Congress. The RMA is making longer wars that might trigger the War Powers Act less likely, establishing de facto authority for Presidents to make war.

Asymmetric Warfare

The RMA is that is a double-edged sword. According to James Adams, "The countries that have the most effective IW [Information Warfare] capabilities are also the most vulnerable to attack—uniquely in the history of the world, a single individual armed with just a computer and a modem can literally hold America to ransom."[14] The accidental power failure that affected up to 50 million Americans in August 2003 should be a warning that reveals an Achilles heel of the information-based society. An asymmetric adversary does not have to target the military to paralyze a state's infrastructure. In fact, because the U.S. military dominates the high-tech conventional battlefield, a determined adversary will be drawn to launch asymmetric attacks against a relatively vulnerable American civil society to undermine the American effort to keep war short with few casualties.

Asymmetric war thus posses a great challenge to the new Presidential-style of war that has emerged in the United States. If asymmetric conflict turns long and bloody, Congress might become more vigorous in asserting its constitutional prerogatives when it comes to issues of war and peace. Adversaries might try to use asymmetric attacks to engage the "sixty-day clock" of the War Powers Act by extending the conflict or avoiding decisive engagements, increasing the chances for a conflict between Congress and the President.

Democratization vs. Centralization

There is a paradox inherent to the relationship between the RMA and war powers. On the one hand, the RMA is a strong democratizing factor within military organizations. The need of "jointness" (inter-service cooperation replacing traditional service-oriented structures) and the ability to communicate around traditional hierarchies, will over time force militaries to adopt more horizontal, decentralized and flatter command structures. The RMA requires military organizations to adopt the net-like structures that already dominate the most effective corporations. The "real-time knowledge" and "situational awareness" make traditional decision-making processes and procedures archaic. Military operations can no longer be pre-planned since the intelligence information is constantly changing. As a result, many decisions, which were previously taken on a higher and centralized level, have to be made ad hoc by lower unit-levels. In short, the RMA undermines traditional and hierarchic military organizations and favors decentralized and horizontal structures.

On the other hand, the shift in war powers from the legislative to the executive and the establishment of the "presidential war powers" represent the opposite process. It is characterized by centralized, hierarchical and unilateral decision-making. "Imperial presidency" is the antithesis of the intent of the Framers, who, as James Wilson put it, did not want "one man to hurry us into war."[15] The original idea was that there should be a genuine debate in Congress (the democratic representation of the nation) before the United States became involved in a war. In fact, the shift of power from Congress to the President as far as decisions on war and peace are concerned reflect a drift toward less democratic procedures. This paradox is of a significant importance for the analysis of the contemporary American way of warfare and its transformation. The decision-making process of going to war has become more centralized and less democratic. At the same time decisions regarding the conduct of war are becoming less centralized and more democratic.

Conclusion

Will war powers within the U.S. government be a subject of increased academic interest and debate? The answer is yes. If the 21st century turns out to be another "American Century," then the information revolution and the RMA may facilitate the return of an "imperial presidency," and the traditional, Constitutional vision of war powers may become obsolete.

For more insights into contemporary international security issues, see our Strategic Insights home page.

To have a new edition of Strategic Insights delivered to your inbox each quarter, please e-mail ccc@nps.edu with "Subscribe" in your subject line. Subscriptions are free, and your address will be used for no other purpose.

References

1. United States Constitution, Article I, section 8, paragraph 11.
2. As Alexander Hamilton put it: "But when a foreign nation declares or openly and avowedly makes war upon the United States, they are then by the very fact already at war, and any declaration on the part of Congress is nugatory; it is at least unnecessary…" quoted in: David Gray Adler, "The Constitution and Presidential Warmaking: The Enduring Debate", Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 103, No. 1, 1988, p. 19.
3. United States Constitution, Article I, section 2.
4. Adler, p. 19.
5. Richard Neustadt, Presidential power: The politics of leadership, New York: Wiley, 1960 quoted in: Timothy S. Boylan, "The Law: Constitutional Understandings of the War Power", Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 3, September 2001, p. 525.
6. See more: Louis Fisher, "The Korean War: On What Legal Basis Did Truman Act?", The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 89, Issue 1, January 1995, pp. 21-39.
7. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Imperial Presidency, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973, pp. viii, ix quoted in: Timothy S. Boylan, "War Powers, Constitutional Balance, and the Imperial Presidency Idea at the Century's End", Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 2, June 1999, p. 232.
8. "United States: War Powers Resolution", Public Law 93-148, 93rd Congress, H. J. Res. 542, November 7, 1973, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 68, Issue 2, April 1974, pp. 372-376.
9. Thomas M. Franck, "Rethinking War Powers: By Law or by 'Thaumaturgic Invocation'?", The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 83, Issue 4, (The United States Constitution in its Third Century: Foreign Affairs), October 1989, pp. 766-776; Jacob K. Javits, "War Powers Reconsidered", Foreign Affairs, Fall 1985, Vol. 64, Issue 1, pp. 130-140; Michael J. Glennon, "The War Powers Resolution Ten Years Later: More Politics Than Law", The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 78, Issue 3, July 1984, pp. 571-581; Louis Fisher and David Gray Adler, "The War Powers Resolution: Time to Say Goodbye", Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 113, No. 1, 1998, pp. 1-20.
10. Victoria A. Farrar-Myers, "Transference of Authority: The Institutional Struggle Over the Control of the War Power", Congress & the Presidency, Vol. 25, No. 2, Autumn 1998, p. 192.
11. Edward N. Luttwak, "Toward Post-Heroic Warfare", Foreign Affairs, Vol. 74, Issue 3, May 1995, p. 121.
12. Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Section 3(a), (accessed 16.08.2003).
13. Quoted in: "Congress Abdicates War Powers", The New American, November 4, 2002, p. 5.
14. James Adams, The Next World War. The Warriors and Weapons of the New Battlefields in the Cyberspace, London: Arrow, 1999, p. 4.
15. Quoted in Adler, p. 36.

Some of the most important quotes from that article:

Key quotes

Quote :

"A President who launches a military operation without a congressional authorization will attempt to make the use of force short and decisive. It is desirable to terminate an engagement within the 60 to 90 day limit imposed by the War Powers Resolution."

This is why the Iraq war was declared to be over so quickly - the Iraq invasion began on March 20, 2003 and was declared to be over on May 1, 2003. That's less than 40 days. They actually jumped the gun somewhat - they could have waited for another 20 to 40 days and declared it to be over by then, and it wouldn't have made one iota of difference. But they wanted to brag and show off.

Quote :

"The RMA facilitates fighting these quick wars. It reflects "the Napoleonic concept of war" which is typical of the American war culture, namely "that only decisive results are worth having."

Quote :

"The United States has conducted several "RMA wars": the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the Kosovo war in 1999, and the war with Iraq in 2003. The RMA allows various administrations to conduct "Presidential wars" (with no Congressional authorization) within the time limit set by the War Powers Resolution. In October 2002, for example, Congress passed joint resolution 114 authorizing President George W. Bush to "use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security interests of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq and (2) to enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."[12] Congress thus made irrelevant its prerogative to declare war. A Republican Representative, Ron Paul summed up the behavior of the legislature in the following words: "Congress would rather give up its most important authorized power to the President and the UN than risk losing an election if the war goes badly."[13]"

Quote :

"The RMA is making longer wars that might trigger the War Powers Act less likely, establishing de facto authority for Presidents to make war."

Quote :

Will war powers within the U.S. government be a subject of increased academic interest and debate? The answer is yes. If the 21st century turns out to be another "American Century," then the information revolution and the RMA may facilitate the return of an "imperial presidency," and the traditional, Constitutional vision of war powers may become obsolete.
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PostSubject: Re: The RMA Enables The President To Start Wars Without Congressional Approval   Fri 28 May 2010, 1:10 am

Excellent post, thanks.

Perhaps I missed it, but do you know where they specifically modified the laws to this 90-day window for warfighting, before Congress has to get involved?

Also, this is interesting vectoring...

Quote :
The RMA is that is a double-edged sword. According to James Adams, "The
countries that have the most effective IW [Information Warfare]
capabilities are also the most vulnerable to attack—uniquely in the
history of the world, a single individual armed with just a computer and
a modem can literally hold America to ransom."

They're setting-up the US for attack here, at least their establishing the narrative for how the US will be disrupted. They're talking 4GW here - 4th Generational Warfare. See Global Guerillas for an entire blog about how 4GW is, or will be, disrupting society everywhere.

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/

This is nothing more than a narrative to explain their own sabotage of the US-system, bringing us to a more chaotic equilibrium.

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"For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root."
David Thoreau (1817-1862)
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PostSubject: Re: The RMA Enables The President To Start Wars Without Congressional Approval   Fri 28 May 2010, 1:46 am

C1 wrote:
Excellent post, thanks.

Perhaps I missed it, but do you know where they specifically modified the laws to this 90-day window for warfighting, before Congress has to get involved?

As far as I understand it, they did not have to modify any law - it came as part of the War Powers Act of 1973.

Quoting Wikipedia here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Powers_Act

Quote :

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) was a United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.

According to the article linked above:

Quote :

Although the goal of the WPR [War Powers Act] was to stimulate a genuine dialogue between the legislative and the executive branches on issues of war and peace and to revive the constitutional war powers ascribed to Congress, it had the reverse effect.[9] The Resolution enhanced Presidential war powers. As a result, "The presidency is understood to be proactive in the exercise of the war power, while Congress, for the most part, is understood to be reactive." The contemporary American RMA has further strengthened this model.

So the President is allowed (under the War Powers Act) to engage any country militarily for 60 days (with an additional 30 days provided for withdrawal), without having to go to Congress. And here is where the 'Revolution in Military Affairs' (RMA) kicks into gear and gives the executive branch even more leverage to do whatever it wants - the 'Revolution in Military Affairs' facilitates precision engagement/warfare, and thus a country's military defense force can be brought to its knees by the overwhelming power of the US Armed Forces within barely a month.

After that, get a 'counter-insurgency' going on as a further excuse to set up military bases, engage the 'insurgents' and extend your stay in said country.

What we can take away from this, is that Bush was at least informed beforehand what the new operational rules of engagement were - and what he was allowed to get away with. That the public did not get this or thought this was further evidence of Bush's dimwittedness was apparently of no concern to Bush's financial backers and controllers.

I have never seen anyone on the news attempting to explain this part of the War - I have heard the misconstrued argument that the Pentagon and DoD had no 'exit strategy' - so it looks like they did not want the public knowing that the RMA trajectory they were pursuing enabled them to get away with this (legally).

Further,

Quote :

This, however, is not necessary in case of an attack on the United States, because such an act of aggression would mean that war had already been initiated.[2] The President not only has the power but the duty to repel any sudden attack despite a lack of Congressional authorization. The executive branch was given narrow war powers. They are limited to the Constitution's commander in chief clause, which 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."

This is what 9/11 provided them with - the opportunity to go to war, because they were 'attacked', and as a result of that, the executive branch could immediately declare war on foreign countries whom it accused of having formented the attack.

So, the false flag together with the War Powers Act and the RMA's 'precision engagement'/'network centric operations' capabilities all combined to give them the power to go to War without any Congressional input whatsoever. Checkmate.
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PostSubject: Re: The RMA Enables The President To Start Wars Without Congressional Approval   Fri 28 May 2010, 1:11 pm

Quote :
This, however, is not necessary in case of an attack
on the United States, because such an act of aggression would mean that
war had already been initiated.
[2] The
President not only has the power but the duty to repel any sudden attack
despite a lack of Congressional authorization. The executive branch was
given narrow war powers.

So, we will soon see a President using this "act of aggression" justification against "Domestic terror".

I can see them morphing this gulf incident, after an "investigation", into a domestic act of "terror" for justification for some draconian response.

All options are on the table all the time.
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