Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 4 weeks ago

What level of authority can the US President extend over the US Military?

I understand that in the United States, the President is considered the highest authority over the military.  So could the US President, for example, just point at a janitor and promote them to Admiral of the Navy?  Or could he demand the Marines change their name to the GI Joes?  Could the President just suddenly demand the Army invade Canada?


Sorry, I know my questions sound stupid, but I am wondering to what extent the President must actually be obeyed by the military since the US is not authoritarian.


Thanks if you would be willing to provide a serious answer so I can understand.

7 Answers

  • Daniel
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    The President can't just do whatever he wants.  His powers are limited by something called "The Constitution" and something else called "laws."

    He can't just appoint someone as an Admiral.  All officers are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.  Anyone appointed to the rank of Admiral would have to go through Senate confirmation hearings.

    He can't rename a branch of the military without a law being passed by Congress.

    The President can't send any branch of the military on an offensive mission without a declaration of war, Congressional authorization for the use of force, or within other narrowly defined parameters set in law.

  • 3 weeks ago

    The POTUS legally could do those things. But it would be VERY unlikely since he/she would still have the people of the US to answer to. An order to invade another nation would have serious geopolitical risks involved and could open the US to an unwanted war.

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    Simply pointing at someone or throwing darts at a dartboard and promoting them to Admiral of the Navy wouldn't be a very wise decision.  Do they even have the necessary experience and qualifications for that?

  • Mrsjvb
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    he can do none of those things you mention.  his being CinC is a ceremonial thing only.. much like Queen Elizabeth wields little actual power over Great Britain.  

    Congress actually holds more power with regards to get who gets promoted to O7 and above.  they also decide whether or not you can stay in past mandatory retirement age( google ADM Grace Hopper)  

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  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    It not only sounds stupid, but it is stupid, and juvenile.

  • 4 weeks ago

    The President has the Authority to order the military into action and conduct a preemptive strike without Congressional approval. No a janitor will never be an Admiral. The highest ranking Admiral was George Dewey a hero of The Spanish American War he was named Admiral of the Navies by Congressional Act of 1903 and the rank was made retroactive so he was a 6 Star Admiral. We won't invade Canada that's our ally. The concept of GI was made out of Valor displayed by Marines on Guadalcanal. The term GI has become synonymous with Government Issue but originally it wa Galvanized Iron.

  • 4 weeks ago

    He can order anything, but it has to be lawful. Everyone follows orders, as long as they are lawful. So, he could nominate a janitor, but it has to be confirmed by the Senate to be lawful. If they confirm, the janitor is admiral. Same for the Marines. There is a law that establishes their name and creates their entity. The President could invade Canada, but there is a limitation for how long. In the past, this short period has been ignored by Congress because they do not want to declare war (a law, both houses). For example the war in Afghanistan is by Presidential Order of Bush2.

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