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Presidential Line Of Succession  
User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11578 posts, RR: 15
Posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

There is that six week or so period between the actual election and the actual swearing in. In 2016 we will have a new President. What if something happens in December 2016 that he/she can not fulfill their obligation as President? Would the Vice-President then be sworn in as president and the Speaker of the House be sworn in as Vice?


Life in the wall is a drag.
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting seb146 (Thread starter):
Would the Vice-President then be sworn in as president and the Speaker of the House be sworn in as Vice?

Yep, that's the way it works AFAIK.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineokie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3006 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

The Vice would be sworn in as President who would present a VP canidate to Congress for approval.

Speaker of the House would only come in to play with the loss both President and VP at the same time or before the new VP was approved.


Okie


User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 3057 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

Are you referring to the serving president or the president elect?

If it's the serving president, the then-Vice President should fulfill the role even if for a month. The Speaker of the House doesn't need to be sworn in as VP especially since:
1. There will be a short period so there's really no need.
2. The VP is selected by the president and confirmed in both houses of Congress. (Section 2 of the 25th amendment).

If it's the incoming candidates, if the party agrees, the VP-elect becomes the one to take the oath of office as president. Then, he/she must select another person to serve as VP and must be confirmed by both houses.



"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2159 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 3):
If it's the incoming candidates, if the party agrees, the VP-elect becomes the one to take the oath of office as president.

I don't think the party can prevent the VP-elect from becoming the president. They made that decision (or rather, that decision was made for them) the minute he was elected VP-elect.

[Edited 2012-11-10 18:44:16]

[Edited 2012-11-10 18:44:43]

User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 3057 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting Polot (Reply 4):
I don't think the party can prevent the VP-elect from becoming the president. They made that decision (or rather, that decision was made for them) the minute he was elected VP-elect.

Since the party didn't elect the VP, rather he was chosen by the person who won the nomination for president, it's hazy as to what happens there. Each party has its rules. I remember reading a thread like this a few months ago.

[Edited 2012-11-10 19:14:01]


"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting seb146 (Thread starter):
the Speaker of the House be sworn in as Vice?

The Speaker of the House, nor any other official in line established by the Presidential Succession Act, assumes the post of Vice President.

There are two different things involved.

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution confirms the "Tyler Principle" where VP John Tyler took the Oath as President and refused to acknowledge any documents referring to him as Acting President after President William Henry Harrison died. Though it seems a no-brainer to us, it was quite controversial. Since that time, we have become use to the VP taking over as the President.

The VP becomes the President.

The 25th Amendment requires the President to nominate a Vice President who must be confirmed by a majority vote of both the House and Senate. It took two months to nominate and confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President, four months to nominate and confirm Nelson Rockefeller as VP.

No one automatically assumes the office of Vice President.

The Presidential Succession Act - current version adopted in 1947 - predates the 25th Amendment. It deals with the death or removal from office of both the President and Vice President. It was adopted after President Truman pushed to have the two heads of the legislative houses restored to the line of succession.

The President pro tempore of the Senate was first and then the Speaker of the House in the 1792 law. It also required a special Presidential Election be held.

In 1886, the Succession was revised to place the Cabinet Secretaries in order of the founding of the various departments - and taking the Speaker and PPT out of the line of Succession. And the requirement for a special election was removed.

The 1947 Presidential Succession Act allows the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate to be skipped over. The first requirement for each is to resign as a member of Congress. Thus Speaker Boehner could avoid assuming the Presidency for a few weeks and ending his career as a member of the House.

During events where several people in the line of succession are present at the same time - a 'Designated Survivor" is named - and he is taken to a secure location where he would become President should an attack or disaster wipe out the other successors.

One such event which occurs every four years is the Presidential Inauguration. During the 2008 Inauguration - President Bush's second Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was that person and secured at a safe location. No new president cabinet secretary can assume office until after the President does.

It will happen again next January.

Note - the 2017 Inaugration Ceremony will be held on Monday, Jan 21 - but like the six previous time the change of Presidential term has occured on a Sunday - a small ceremony will be held on Sunday, Jan 20 at noon. Reagan was the last President to have a private Sunday and Public Monday oath of office, in 1985.

Yes, a designator survivor is named when the State of the Union address puts the President, VP, Speaker, PPT and several Cabinet Secretaries in the same room.

Quoting seb146 (Thread starter):
In 2016 we will have a new President. What if something happens in December 2016 that he/she can not fulfill their obligation as President? Would the Vice-President then be sworn in as president

We will have a new President in 2017, not 2016.

There are specific laws to deal with the possibility that the votes of the Electors of the various states do not name a President.

Among those is the 20th Amendment that on Jan 20, 2017 at noon, President Obama's term ends.

If the newly elected President were to die or otherwise be unable to assume office in December - after the Electors vote and before the actual election occurs in early - it would be a zoo.

Note - the Republican and Democratic Party both have rules and procedures in place for the Party to name alternates if the President Elect and the VP Elect die or become disqualified between the General Election and the January official election.

The Joint Session of Congress normally on Jan 3rd would open and read the official ballots. If the person winning that election is not able to serve - the Congress would likely name the Vice President elect as President, or the person designated by the rules of the winning party. I would find it very unlikely that the party of the losing candidate would use a possible majority of states in Congress to name the losing General Election candidate President. Though it could happen, and would be legal.

If the Congress is unable to name a President by Jan 20 - the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 comes into play under special circumstances. The Speaker of the House should become "Acting President" until Congress finally names a President.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 3):
if the party agrees
Quoting Polot (Reply 4):
I don't think the party can prevent the VP-elect from becoming the president
Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 5):
it's hazy as to what happens there

If the President Elect dies it is not hazy and there is no question what happens.

20th Amendment to the US Constitution, Section 3,

Quote:
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President.

Further if the President Elect shall have for some other reason not be qualified to assume office - from the same section

Quote:
If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19555 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting okie (Reply 2):
Speaker of the House would only come in to play with the loss both President and VP at the same time or before the new VP was approved.

Yup. And this is why you rarely see the P and VP together. And you will almost NEVER see them both on the same airplane at the same time.

Interestingly, Vice-President Cheney served as Acting President twice during the Bush administration, both times while the President was under sedation or analgesia for medical procedures. He never did take the oath of office and so never truly assumed the Presidency. That said, the law is a bit murky on when the VP becomes the true President vs. Acting President. This sort of thing has been done in the past. Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush briefly acted as President while President Reagan was having polyps removed from his colon.

Nobody other than the Vice President has ever assumed the power of the Presidency.

Wikipedia has an excellent article on the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acting_President_of_the_United_States


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting seb146 (Thread starter):

What makes 2016-2017 any different then this year.? President Obama will still need to take the Oath of Office again in January....be it not as a big deal as a new President coming in.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11578 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 5):
rather he was chosen by the person who won the nomination for president, it's hazy as to what happens there.

That can get hazy too since, with the Electoral College, the President and VP can be from different parties.

And, yes, I know the next president will take over officially in January 2017.



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 10):
That can get hazy too since, with the Electoral College, the President and VP can be from different parties.

Originally. The second and third Presidents were Vice Presidents who ran against the eventual winner and became VP as the second place finisher in the Electoral College vote.

However it is not hazy under current rules.

Separate votes by the Electors in each state are cast for President and for Vice President. All 50 states have regulations or laws which require the Electors to cast their ballot for the VP choice of the President for whom they cast their vote.

While the scenario does make for the basis of a good fiction novel or film - it is a non-possibility in today's world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiction...ted_States_presidential_succession


User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6601 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

What happens when there is some undefined degree of incapacitation ? For example In France in the last 50 years we had two presidents with lengthy cancer battles during their presidency, one died while in office (Pompidou) the other had the thing for his full two terms (14 years, Mitterrand) and died a year after the new president took office. That new president had a cerebrovascular accident while in office.

None were replaced before the end of their term (not that the populace actually knew what was going on). If a president dies or resign a new election happens a few weeks after that, with the president of the Senate assuming the interim but not being officially president. There was a black president of the Senate in the 50's and 60's but he never had to assume the interim.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2159 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 12):
What happens when there is some undefined degree of incapacitation ?

That is also covered in the 25th amendment (in section 3)- the VP becomes acting president. Woodrow Wilson suffered a serious stroke in 1919 while in office and was basically incapacitated for the last year of his presidency (this was all kept secret from the public at the time of course). This was one of the motivators for the 25th amendment.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 14, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 12):
What happens when there is some undefined degree of incapacitation ?

Not only does the 25th Amendment cover such situations, Presidents Reagan in 1985, President George W. Bush in 2002, and again in 2007 have invoked Section 3 of the 25th Amendment temporarily transferring power to the Vice President as "Acting President" when they under went minor medical procedures requiring that they be placed under sedation.

This precedent will heavily influence any future President who has to undergo any medical procedure which requires him/ her to be placed under sedation.

It is a simple process which ensures there is not question is Presidential authority must be exercised during that time period. It should have been used by President Regan in 1981 after he was shot, or Section 4 invoked when he went into surgery. However, VP Bush was not in Washington and would not agree to Section 4 until he was able to personally assess the situation in DC.

A more serious process is under Section 4 where the President is involuntarily removed from authority without his cooperation by the VP and the majority of the Cabinet. The President can challenge such a declaration - and it basically takes a 2/3 vote by both the House and Senate to support the VP and Cabinet. Congress must assemble and hear the 'case' within 48 hours of the President's challenge.

An involuntary removal also requires that Congress hear and confirm the reason for removal from authority after 21 days.

We know of one instance where this was considered.

When Howard Baker became White House Chief of Staff on Feb 27, 1987, he and his key advisers were very upset to find President Reagan was unable to respond to any but the most simple questions. He was disoriented and distracted. Baker talked with some friends in the Cabinet about possibly invoking Section 4.

Another meeting was setup with the President and the staff where Ronald Reagan basically 'auditioned' for his job.

He wowed them with his charm and personality. His memory and recollection of events, people and such was near letter prefect.

I come from a family which suffers from Alzheimer's. My grandmother, and five members of my mother's generation including my mother. She lasted over 20 years after she was unable to function independently with moderate small nursing home level care.

President Reagan died 10 years after leaving office with the best possible private care.

Alzheimer's impacts each person differently, however it is a certainty that victims begin to lose mental capacity and decline a decade or more before symptoms are recognizable.

What Baker saw and described matches the early Alzheimer's symptoms perfectly. Dazed and confused one day, perfect the next.

The President's doctor has said that Reagan never showed any symptoms until after he left the White House, but there are too many other independent reports of incidents by Reagan strong supporters to believe the doctor.


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3420 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 8):
And you will almost NEVER see them both on the same airplane at the same time.

It's against the law. neither can be on the same plane even if they're going to the same place.

Technically, a President doesn't have to appoint a VP nor can anyone force him. But this is unlikely especially if the House is held by a different party.



"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlineSmittyOne From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 15):
It's against the law.

What law? Which section of the US Code?

I see that 18 United States Code § 3056 gives powers to the Secret Service but I've not seen specific prohibitions on President/Vice President traveling together.


User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13078 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 16):
Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 15):It's against the law.
What law? Which section of the US Code?

I see that 18 United States Code § 3056 gives powers to the Secret Service but I've not seen specific prohibitions on President/Vice President traveling together.

This is most likely just a practical procedure of the Secret Service. For example when JFK was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, VP Johnson was not in the same car as the President, maybe not even in the movement of the President motorcade, although in Dallas at the time. He was on the flight back to DC with JFK's body and Ms. Kennedy, taking the oath of office as President on then AF 1 before they left Dallas, I believe officiated by a Federal District Judge.

Some other scenarios with real life circumstances of succession or powers of the VP when the President is unable or unavailable and raise questions.:

Moments after 9/11, President Bush was not in DC, he was in Florida, then in transit to a secure base in Louisiana, then South Dakota at, times not in 100% access to be able to communicate possible military decisions only the President can make, like to shoot down other possible civilians airlines with terrorists on them heading for a target? The VP was in DC with access to communications, could then VP Cheney have called for military strikes or other actions requiring Presidential level actions in the absence or problems with the President available to communicate such decisions? I believe he did try to call for a military response and under the circumstances, it was not fully Constitutional, but most likely legal.

What about like situations including an Assassination attempt, a sudden medical incapacitation, a major communications problem where certain decisions may have to be prompt decisions by a President, can the VP take over without formal swearing in? We saw some issues in the WH just after the attempted assassination of President Reagan, with his Chief of Staff Haig saying 'he was in charge' as the VP was not in DC - although he didn't have the Constitutional authority.

Then you get short and long term medical or mental health circumstances


User currently offlineSmittyOne From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 17):
This is most likely just a practical procedure of the Secret Service.

Absolutely agree with the policy, I was curious to see how exactly they would word this in the 'code' but couldn't find it...


User currently onlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3289 posts, RR: 45
Reply 19, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 11):
However it is not hazy under current rules.

Perhaps he is referring to the possibility of an Electoral College tie, whereby the House appoints the President and the Senate the VP? Had that happened this year, we would've had a Republican President and and Democratic VP.

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 20, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 17):
The VP was in DC with access to communications, could then VP Cheney have called for military strikes or other actions requiring Presidential level actions in the absence or problems with the President available to communicate such decisions?

The VP is not in the 'chain of command' for military decisions. The Secretary of Defense is next after the President. The SecDef has broad authority to authorize a wide range of military actions up to, but not including issuing the orders for a nuclear strike. (That takes NCA authority and a two person confirmation i.e. - the President must issue the order and the SecDef must confirm it is a valid order.)

i.e. - A regional FAA center head initially ordered the grounding of all civilian aircraft in his airspace. A short time later, the FAA administrator informed the White House Situation Room that unless countermanded, he was ordering all US civilian air traffic to land and closing US air space.

Fighters were ordered into the air buy previously established protocols. That was not a Presidential level decision. SecDef could have legally ordered fighters to shoot down civilian aircraft which did not comply with instructions to land.

Yes, we live in a political world. The SecDef Rumsfeld had the legal authority to order planes shot down. To order military strikes overseas if targets were identified. And while I personally believe he would have been willing to issue those orders, he would also have spoken with the President to argue that such orders need to be issued immediately rather than do so on his own authority.

I have no doubt SecDef Rumsfeld would have issued any such orders on his own authority if he was unable to communicate with the President and felt the time to issue such orders was critical.

The VP has NO LEGAL authority to issue any military orders. The Bush/Cheney administration was very unusual in that VP Cheney was directly involved in running the administration. Most VP are not involved in the administration operation and policy making. Certainly not on a day to day basis.

I doubt VP Biden has that level of involvement in the Obama White House. VP Gore, Quayle, G.H.W. Bush, Mondale, Rockerfeller, Ford, Agnew, Humphrey, Johnson, Nixon..... did not.

One reason VP G.H.W. Bush did not want to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment after Reagan was shot is that he did not know the White House staff well, was not involved in current White House policy. He would have wanted to bring in several of his aides in such a case, and it would have looked like he was trying to replace the Reagan staff.

During most of WWII, VP Henry Wallace never saw the President privately, was only allowed at the White House on state occasions, and kept totally unaware of any US plans or policies for fighting the war.

---------------------------------------------

After 9/11 - President Bush was NEVER unable to communicate with the military command authorities, White House and issue orders. What he was unable to do is access public communication channels like television - so unable to keep up with the massive amount of fast changing news.

The Secret Service stayed in constant contact with their offices in DC, and there was a non-stop battle between the President's staff and the Secret Service over how 'secure' the President was to be kept.

The stop at Barksdale was a compromise. The reason for the stop was to use the increased communication facilities at 2nd Air Force HQ to get the President up to date on the overall situation. The staff members traveling with the President also used the stop to argue for the return of the President to DC. They were very aware that the nation was shaken and needed to see the President was safe, in charge and unafraid.

The delay after Barksdale was in making arrangements to move the VP and key congressional leaders to a secure location. Normally, they would be moved to the Pentagon - but that was not available.

Remember the long walk President Bush made alone from the helicopter to the White House - a couple minutes. The walk was purposely the long way around - to show the nation and the world the President was unafraid and safe. It is normally just 10-15 seconds from the helo to the White House.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 17):
can the VP take over without formal swearing in?

The VP becomes 'Acting President' under the 25th Amendment after the letter is sent to the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate. The three times that has happened, the White House staff has verbally confirmed receipt of the letter by fax with each office. The 'Acting President' does NOT take an oath of office.

Confirmation of receipt of the letter by the two offices establishes beyond any doubt the authority of the VP to exercise the powers and office of the President.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 19):
Had that happened this year, we would've had a Republican President and and Democratic VP.

I do not believe that would have happened. I have enought faith in our Congress to believe they would have followed the popular vote.

Also, the Congress knows that such a situation as approving a President of one party and a VP of the different party is a sure way to plunge this country into four years of depression and cripple the ability of the government to function.


User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10893 posts, RR: 37
Reply 21, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 12):
There was a black president of the Senate in the 50's and 60's but he never had to assume the interim.

I remember him well. His name was Gaston Monnerville. A politician, governement member, senator, and also a writer. Makes no difference that he is black or blue, in fact he was mixed, not so "black". This should not even be mentioned. He was born in French Guyana.

He started out with a Law Doctorate. He then served as assistant to the famous Corsican lawyer César Campinchi for a number of years. I am sure Monnerville would have done much better as a French President than many of the ones who were elected later in time.



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 22, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 17):
could then VP Cheney

Just in case my previous post is too long  

The VP is not Assistant President. He/She is not the backup for the President.

The VP is the same as a spare part sitting on a shelf. He/she has no use (authority) until the President is declared unable to perform the functions of his office.

The SecDef is the power to issue military orders if the President is out of communication.


User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3420 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1307 times:

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 17):
Chief of Staff Haig saying 'he was in charge'

He was the Sec'y of State at the time- which would have made him 4th in line. He was COS for Nixon and Ford.



"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 24, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1309 times:

Haig said he was in charge - right here, right now - until the Vice President returned to DC. A very limited context.

The VP, the Speaker and the PPT have no legal authority to issue any orders, take any actions in such a case as long as the President is alive until Section 4 of the 25th Amendment is invoked. Something VP Bush refused to do even though the majority of the Cabinet wanted him to do so.

At the time Haig made that statement, he was the senior member of the administration in the White House and had full legal authority to make any decision consistent with his office, consistent with the approval of the other Cabinet secretaries, and anything set by policies established by the President.

As I noted above - the SecDef has the legal authority to order military action.

The only authority missing was "National Command Authority" to launch nuclear weapons.

Being a former military officer, he thought of such things in military terms - and put it very badly to a press corps that did not understand the context of his answer. Even worse, he went out and spoke to the press without telling any of the other Cabinet secretaries gathered in the White House.


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