Quotes on Law, War, and Liberty

Adams, Samuel: “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plow, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude greater than the animating contest of freedom–go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
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Posted in Law

Disclaimer and Terms of Service

This website is a personal, unofficial website. Nothing here states an official position of the Department of Defense, the webmaster’s employer, any user’s employer, or anyone else for that matter. The webmaster is not responsible for the content of linked resources.

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The webmasters make occasional efforts to ensure that resources located within this website are accurate and current, but we’ve got day jobs for pete’s sake.  No warranty of any kind is made: attorneys using this site should validate resources through their own research; non-attorneys using this site should consult an attorney before relying on anything found here.

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Posted in Law

Freedom of Information Act & Privacy Act of 1974

The Freedom of Information Act: 5 U.S.C. 552
The Privacy Act of 1974: 5 U.S.C. 552a


DOJ FOIA Reference Page // This site includes:
— The useful FOIA Guide & Privacy Act Overview, published by DOJ yearly.
— Digest of FOIA-related litigation
— Numerous DOJ-level FOIA policy memos

(Great sources for agency-specific regulations, plus reading rooms of previously released records…)

DoD Inspector General FOIA Page
U.S. Air Force FOIA Page

Posted in Law

Foundational Principles – Funding U.S. Military Ops


A. President’s Power.

1. “The President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States….” U.S. Const. Art. II, § 2, cl. 1.

2. “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls….” U.S. Const. Art. II, § 2, cl. 2.

3. “[H]e shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers….” U.S. Const. Art. II, § 3.

B. Congress’ Power.

1. “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law….” U.S. Const. Art. I, § 9, cl. 7.

2. “The Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States….” U.S. Const. Art. IV, § 3, cl 2.

“An effective foreign policy requires more than ideas and pronouncements. It requires institutions, agencies, people and money, and Congress controls them all. Through the authorization and appropriation process, Congress sets the terms of commerce; it provides military forces and intelligence capabilities; and it establishes the conditions for development assistance, security support programs and U.S. participation in international organizations…. Hardly any important executive branch decision is taken without consideration of the reaction in Congress.” Philip R. Trimble, The President’s Foreign Affairs Power, 83 AM. J. INT’L. LAW 750 (1989).

Legislative Controls: Of the three general limitations – Purpose, Time, and Amount.  The Purpose Statute is the fiscal law control most commonly raised in legal analysis of issues in U.S. military operations.

1. 31 U.S.C. § 1301(a) provides:
Appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law.

2. Three-Part Test for a Proper Purpose. In 1984, the Comptroller General specifically addressed numerous funding issues within the Ahuas Tara military exercises conducted in Honduras. Accordingly, the Comptroller General reiterated the three factors that determine whether to expend a specific appropriated fund. In this case, the Comptroller General was
reviewing the use of Army O&M funds or whether other appropriated fund sources should have been used, such as funding through the Department of State. The three factors are the following:

a. The expenditure must be reasonably related to the purposes for which the appropriation was made. (In other words more commonly cited, the expenditure of an appropriation must be for a particular statutory purpose, or necessary and incident to the proper execution of the general purpose of the appropriation.)

b. The expenditure must not be prohibited by law.

c. The expenditure must not fall specifically within the scope of some other category of appropriations. This last requirement applies even if the more appropriate funding source is exhausted and therefore unavailable.

See The Honorable Bill Alexander, B-213137, 63 Comp. Gen. 422 (1984)


A. General. “The established rule is that the expenditure of public funds is proper only when authorized by Congress, not that public funds may be expended unless prohibited by Congress.” United States v. MacCollom, 426 U.S. 317 (1976).

B. Article II Operations: Inherent Authority? See, e.g., R. Rosen, Funding Non- Traditional Military Operations: The Alluring Myth of a Presidential Power of the Purse, 155 MIL. L. REV. 1 (1998); W. Banks & P. Raven-Hansen, NATIONAL SECURITY LAW & THE POWER OF THE PURSE 166 (1994).

(Content derived from the 2d Operational Contracting Deskbook, US Army JAG School)

Posted in Law

U.S. Laws and Regulations on International Agreements

Agreements between elements of the U.S. Government and representatives of foreign governments are subject to the Case-Zablocki Act, and several implementing regulations.

Posted in Law

National Defense Authorization Acts

(Primarily for Defense Department activities)

Info on pending NDAA legislation from the House Armed Services Committee.

  • NDAA FY 2022 (Public Law 117-81)
  • NDAA FY 2021 (Public Law 116-283)
  • NDAA FY 2020 (Public Law 116-92)
  • NDAA FY 2019 (Public Law 115-232)
  • NDAA FY 2018 (Public Law 115-91)
  • NDAA FY 2017 (Public Law 114-328)
  • NDAA FY 2016 (Public Law 114-92)
  • NDAA FY 2015 (Public Law 113-291)
  • NDAA FY 2014 (Public Law 113-66)
  • NDAA FY 2013 (Public Law 112-239)
  • NDAA FY 2012 (Public Law 112-81)
  • NDAA FY 2011 (Public Law 111-383)
  • NDAA FY 2010 (Public Law 111-84)
  • NDAA FY 2009 (Public Law 110-417)
  • NDAA FY 2008 (Public Law 110-181)
  • NDAA FY 2007 (Public Law 109-364)
  • NDAA FY 2006 (Public Law 109-163)
  • NDAA FY 2005 (Public Law 108-375)
  • NDAA FY 2004 (Public Law 108-136)
  • NDAA FY 2003 (Public Law 107-314)
  • NDAA FY 2002 (Public Law 107-107)
  • NDAA FY 2001 (Public Law 106-398)
  • NDAA FY 2000 (Public Law 106-65)
  • NDAA FY 1999 (Public Law 105-261)
  • NDAA FY 1998 (Public Law 105-85)
  • NDAA FY 1997 (Public Law 104-201)
  • NDAA FY 1996 (Public Law 104-106)
  • NDAA FY 1995 (Public Law 103-337)
  • NDAA Legislation Archive (from DoD’s Washington Headquarters Service)
Posted in Law

Posse Comitatus

  • 18 USC 1385The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 / 18 USC Sec 1385:
    “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
  • DoD Instruction 3025.01Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies
  • RAND Overview of the Posse Comitatus Act
Posted in Law