The President’s authority to use nuclear weapons — which is the subject of a congressional hearing today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — was addressed in several recent publications of the Congressional Research Service.
A new CRS Legal Sidebar addresses the unresolved question: Can Congress Limit the President’s Power to Launch Nuclear Weapons?
A detailed new CRS memorandum examines “Legislation Limiting the President’s Power to Use Nuclear Weapons: Separation of Powers Implications.”
See also Defense Primer: President’s Constitutional Authority with Regard to the Armed Forces, CRS In Focus.
The uncertain scope of presidential authority to order the use of nuclear weapons was identified as a serious policy problem in 1984 by the late Jeremy J. Stone, then-president of the Federation of American Scientists. In an article published in Foreign Policy at the time, he concluded that “presidential first use [of nuclear weapons] is unlawful.”
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Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.
FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act, November 8, 2017
The Rohingya Crises in Bangladesh and Burma, November 8, 2017
Lebanon, updated November 9, 2017
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, updated November 9, 2017
El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations, updated November 3, 2017
Guatemala: Political and Socioeconomic Conditions and U.S. Relations, updated October 17, 2017
Why is Violence Rebounding in Mexico?, CRS Insight, November 8, 2017
Comprehensive Energy Planning for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, CRS Insight, November 6, 2017
Resolutions of Inquiry: An Analysis of Their Use in the House, 1947-2017, updated November 9, 2017
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, CRS Insight, November 9, 2017
Natural Disasters of 2017: Congressional Considerations Related to FEMA Assistance, CRS Insight, November 2, 2017
Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, updated November 7, 2017
Consumer and Credit Reporting, Scoring, and Related Policy Issues, updated November 3, 2017