Center for Japanese Legal Studies
Center on Global Governance
The U.S. Constitution’s allocation of military authority has adapted over time to major shifts in American power and grand strategy. This paper explains, with a focus on U.S. military actions in East Asia and possible scenarios of special joint concern to the United States and Japan, that the president in practice wields tremendous power and discretion in using military force. Although formal, legal checks on the president’s use of force rarely come into play, Congress nevertheless retains some political power to influence presidential decision-making. The president’s powers are also constrained by interagency processes within the executive branch, and alliance relations often feed into those processes.
Matthew C. Waxman,
Presidential Use of Force in East Asia: American Constitutional Law and the U.S.-Japan Alliance,
Strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance: Pathways for Bridging Law and Policy, Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Masahiro Kurosaki & Matthew C. Waxman, Eds., 2020; Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-676
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2726