Letter From Libya 2
Q: Yesterday, I heard a rumor. Uncle Sam is considering hiring people to staff surveillance and monitoring stations in Libya. The monitors would ensure that the various tribes respect an armistice. They would not be equipped for combat. They would only observe and report suspected military movement. And the stations are to be operated by civilians instead of the military. Does this mean that the President won’t have to report to Congress under the War Powers Resolution?
A: As a preliminary point, the War Powers Resolution was enacted toward the end of the Vietnam war. It is not to be confused with the War Powers Act, from World War II days.
While simply carrying out a government contract overseas may not trigger a duty under a statute like the Resolution, the military nature of a contractor’s duties can. Especially here, where peacekeeping and military surveillance have traditionally been carried out by the military.
Under section 1543(a) of the Resolution, in the absence of a declaration of war, sometimes when our armed forces are introduced, the President must submit to Congress a written report. These cases include (1) situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances and (2) troops in the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat.
One can be skeptical whether the rumored monitors will indeed not be ‘equipped for combat’ in the sense of section 1543(a). Without the right to carry a rifle, what father would want his daughter to serve? The line between anticipated self-defense and possible combat can be blurry. If I were the President, I might well elect to give that report, even for these monitors.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
Copyright © 2011-2020 Scott Baron & Associates, P.C. All rights reserved. 159-49 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, New York 11414 1750 Central Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10710 718-738-9800, 914-337-9800, 1-866-927-4878