No-Fly Zones: Considerations for Congress

03.24.11 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The decision to impose a no-fly zone on Libya is scrutinized from various perspectives in a new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service.

The report distinguishes “authorization” to establish a no-fly zone from the “legality” of the move, and also from its “legitimacy.”  “The three concepts overlap but are all distinct,” the report says.

The report, which may help to inform congressional deliberations, also treats operational and cost issues.  A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.  See “No-Fly Zones: Strategic, Operational, and Legal Considerations for Congress,” March 18, 2011.

“From the Washington Administration to the present, Congress and the President have enacted 11 separate formal declarations of war against foreign nations in five different wars,” according to another newly updated CRS report.  Yet there have been hundreds of U.S. military engagements over the past two centuries.

The significance of a declaration of war as compared to an “authorization” for the use of force was explored in detail in “Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications,” March 17, 2011.

For a brief overview of Japan’s nuclear disaster, see “Fukushima Nuclear Crisis,” March 15, 2011.