from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 73
July 18, 2007

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Does Congress have the constitutional authority to legislate limits on the conduct of the war in Iraq?

The answer may seem obvious. But to resolve any lingering doubt, the Congressional Research Service gave the topic a thorough analytic treatment in a newly updated report and concluded that Congress does have such authority.

"It has been suggested that the President's role as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces provides sufficient authority for his deployment of troops, and any efforts on the part of Congress to intervene could represent an unconstitutional violation of separation-of-powers principles."

"While even proponents of strong executive prerogative in matters of war appear to concede that it is within Congress's authority to cut off funding entirely for a military operation, it has been suggested that spending measures that restrict but do not end financial support for the war in Iraq would amount to an 'unconstitutional condition'."

To rebut any such suggestion, the newly updated CRS report "provides historical examples of measures that restrict the use of particular personnel, and concludes with a brief analysis of arguments that might be brought to bear on the question of Congress's authority to limit the availability of troops to serve in Iraq."

"Although not beyond debate, such a restriction appears to be within Congress's authority to allocate resources for military operations," the report stated.

See "Congressional Authority To Limit U.S. Military Operations in Iraq," updated July 11, 2007:

See, relatedly, "Defense: FY2008 Authorization and Appropriations," updated July 13, 2007:

and "FY2007 Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Other Purposes," updated July 2, 2007:


The Congressional Research Service has produced several newly updated reports on Iraq for congressional consumption. CRS does not make its publications freely available to the public, but the following reports were obtained by Secrecy News. "Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security," updated July 13, 2007:

"Iraq: U.S. Military Operations," updated July 15, 2007:

"Iraq: Reconstruction Assistance," updated June 25, 2007:

"Post-War Iraq: Foreign Contributions to Training, Peacekeeping, and Reconstruction," updated June 18, 2007:

"Iraq: Summary of U.S. Casualties," updated July 12, 2007:

"U.S. Embassy in Iraq," updated July 13, 2007:

"Iraq: Milestones Since the Ouster of Saddam Hussein," updated June 19, 2007:

"The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq," updated June 12, 2007:

"Iraq: Government Formation and Benchmarks," updated July 13, 2007:

"The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11," updated July 16, 2007:


Classification guides are used by government agencies and program managers to translate top-level national security classification policy into specific guidance on what information is to be classified and at what level. There are innumerable such guides, many of which are themselves classified. One recent (unclassified) example that provides a notion of the entire class of documents is an Air Force Classification Guide for the Global Broadcast System, issued in April 2007.

The potential role of nanotechnology for defense and military applications was assessed in unclassified format in a recent report issued by the Director, Defense Research and Engineering. See "Defense Nanotechnology Research and Development Program," April 27, 2007:

"Command and control of air and space power is an Air Force-provided asymmetric capability that no other Service or nation provides," according to a new U.S. Air Force publication on the subject. See "Command and Control," Air Force Doctrine Document 2-8, June 1, 2007:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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