Should the President be the Commander-in-Chief?

February 24, 2020

 “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States….” states Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1.

Should the delegates of 1787 have made the President the Commander in Chief? In the not so distant past we have seen examples where the Framers choice can certainly be criticized; the debacle of the Vietnam War, with President Lyndon Johnson personally choosing Air Force targets in North Vietnam being the prime example.  Some today point to the claimed instability of President Trump as reason to worry over what he would do if “the balloon should go up.”

This presentation will examine the choice made by the 1787 Convention and how it has  worked over our 200+ years, other examples from history, and the logical alternatives that present themselves.

Gary Porter is Founder and Executive Director of the Constitution Leadership Initiative, Inc. (CLI) a project to encourage a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution among the American people. 

CLI provides courses on the U.S.and Virginia Constitutions , and promotes the use of other, online and live courses as the needs of the audience dictate.  Gary also re-enacts James Madison, in period costume, distributing pocket Constitutions to school children and explaining Madison’s role in created the Bill of Rights.

Gary writes periodic essays focused on timely constitutional topics, which are distributed to a subscriber list and featured on various websites.  He also contributes to Constituting America’s “90-Day Study” Project. He has spoken on constitutional issues to regional and national conferences, debated the Convention of States issue in the Tidewater, Virginia area, and spoken in favor of COS before a committee at the Virginia Assembly. He formerly hosted a weekly radio show called “We the People, The Constitution Matters” on a Philadelphia-area radio station.

Gary can be reached via email at or by calling 757-867-9120.
Copyright ©2020

Gary Porter is Executive Director of the Constitution Leadership Initiative, Inc., a project to inform Americans about the Founder’s view of their Constitution.  In addition to being a regular contributor to CT, he writes regularly for the Fairfax Free Citizen of Fairfax Virginia. Mr. Porter also teaches at various locations around Virginia.