Posted on Mar 14, 2015
Capt Cyber Systems Operations
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Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12 (Army Clause) of our Constitution reads "The Congress shall have Power To ...raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years...."

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 13 (Navy Clause) of our Constitution reads "The Congress shall have Power To ...provide and maintain a Navy...."

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15 (Militia Clause) of our Constitution reads "The Congress shall have Power To ...provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions..."

Okay, so according to the Constitution, standing armies should not be funded for longer than 2 years, the Navy can exist permanently, and militias (Now the National Guard) are to be maintained and used at the President's discretion for military matters stateside. So that being said, is our military, in it's current state, unconstitutional?

Disclaimer: I am not a proponent of disbanding our military. This is purely a discussion regarding our military and constitutional interpretation.
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TSgt Joshua Copeland
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This is why the defense budget is renewed each year.
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GySgt Training Chief
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I second that.
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SSG Gerhard S.
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The distrust of standing armies WAS a primary concern to our Revolutionary founders. That distrust though was not misplaced then, nor should it be ignored today. The Framers knew that ONLY an army can constitute an occupying force, (neither a Navy, nor an associated Marine force would be large enough) and though a standing army would act as a deterrent to invasion, it would equally stand as a threat to the occupation of the many States. THIS is why the central government was permitted to "Maintain" a Navy, but only to fund an army (gathered temporarily) from the States Militias and only with the respective Governor's consent. An operating Navy was the means to "rapid" transport and as a means of a Central defense, which is why IT was permitted to be "maintained" by the Central government, as a benefit to the many States. Under that premise and principle, it could likely be argued that an Air Force would be "maintained" Centrally as well.

As George Washington Tells us... “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

This is the reason behind swearing Oaths of enlistment and commission to the Constitution, and NOT to the government, or to the President. This is also the reason ANY raising of an army was to come from the State's militias, and was NOT to be standing, and ready to fight. When Lincoln saw the onset of hostilities at the start of the war between the states, he had no standing army and is purported to be quoted saying, "Thank God for Michigan" when Michigan's soldiers showed up in Washington.

So, with no clause in the Constitution allowing the Central government to "maintain" an Army, and with clear language asserting that there are to be trained States Militias, the idea that Congress would commission the Militia's Officers was seen as a check to the power of the Executive who is commander in chief of a "raised" army.

What we have seen since the War between the States has been a consolidation of powers in the Central government, and a distortion of the balance of powers toward the executive branch. This trend became even more distorted when future President's had to "raise" armies to fight WW I and WW II. So, by NOT having a standing army, it became more difficult for a rogue executive to occupy one or more of the States. It also made it nearly impossible to engage in the sort of incessant world hopping and occupying that we find ourselves engaged in today. The thought was, if the cause is just, then the Congress will be on board to fund an Army, and the Governors will be on board to permit their troops to become, temporarily, part of the Federal Army. The reasoning behind this idea is as sound today, as it was in 1787.

That being said, in order to be trained, and outfitted in a uniform manner the State's Militias would need a (small) force of cadre to oversee the uniformity of training and equipment. Such a force would NOT constitute a Standing army in letter, or in principle, and is the model that should be adopted in order to adhere to the concepts laid plain in our Constitution. If we wish to maintain a standing army in perpetuity, there should be a Constitutional amendment in place to do so.

Important to the understanding of our Constitution are the Federalist and Anti Federalist papers, the Constitutional Convention notes containing the arguments and reasoning behind the clauses that were argued into the Constitution, and the words and correspondence of those involved in the founding of our great nation. Simply reading the words, gives them no context, and ignores the principles upon which they were placed to represent. Simply reading the words, out of context allows for the sort of misunderstanding where the phrase, "a well regulated militia" no longer means "well trained", to the ignorant it seems to mean "managed by a central authority". Context is important, and shouldn't stem from opinions of the ignorant, whether they be Judges, politicians, or others. The Context of our Constitution comes from the times in which it was written and from the words of the men who fought for it, argued for every line, and ratified it.
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SPC Elijah J. Henry, MBA
SPC Elijah J. Henry, MBA
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SSG Gerhard S., are you familiar with the scholarship of Dr. Edwin Vieira?
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SSG Gerhard S.
SSG Gerhard S.
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I am not, but I did read the article you posted.
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SPC Elijah J. Henry, MBA
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Capt (Join to see), no, the military is not unconstitutional as it is. The appropriation thing is just about funding.

Now, the National Guard is not the Militia. There are vital differences between the institutions.

We are unconstitutionally neglecting the Militia.
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SSG Gerhard S.
SSG Gerhard S.
>1 y
Indeed on all accounts!
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MSgt Paul Connors
MSgt Paul Connors
1 mo
Actually, the National Guard is the current iteration of the former state militias. The National Guard Bureau was created in 1916 under "The National Defense Act of 1916 to provide for standardization of training, commissioning of officers and administration and regulation of the various state organized military forces for both peacetime and wartime activities.

The non-federally funded state reserve forces or militias are referenced in the various legislative acts creating the National Guard of the United States as reserve military forces.
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SPC Elijah J. Henry, MBA
SPC Elijah J. Henry, MBA
1 mo
MSgt Paul Connors - actually, as I said, there are several important differences between the NG and the Constitutional Militia. The statute is wrong. Non-NG State Forces are also not Militia, even when the word is in their name.
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