John R. Hawkins III
The Duties of the most powerful job on Planet Earth, the position of the President of the United States, are clearly defined and codified. The U.S. Constitution provides a very clear listing of those duties in Article II, Sections 2 and 3.
(1) Is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States;
(2) Has power to obtain information and opinions from heads of the executive departments;
(3) May grant pardons and reprieves for crimes against the United States;
(4) Makes treaties with other countries with approval of the Senate;
(5) Appoints ambassadors, federal judges and heads of executive departments – all subject to the approval of the Senate; the President also has the power to fill any vacancies that may happen while the Senate is in recess;
(6) Must report to the Congress from time to time about the state of the union and recommend whatever measures he thinks are necessary;
(7) May call members of Congress together on extraordinary occasions, as well as adjourn their meetings when they cannot agree on their own about when to do this;
(8) Receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials;
(9) Is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws;
(10) Issues commissions to all officers of the United States.
The first duty described is that of Commander-In- Chief and the duty of Commander-In-Chief arguably is the most important duty of the President. This responsibility then and now includes “the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States” — in other words, the National Guard. Now, the president does not have the power to declare war (that was left for Congress); however, given the fact that the last formal declaration of war was in 1942, presidents of recent, certainly haven’t shied away from exercising their powers as Commander-In-Chief.
Given that the involvements of late of the US military are global in nature it is important for our next President to have a full understanding of global relations and an attitude of inclusion; something akin to an old saying of “…one must get-a-long to get-a-long.”
The primary responsibility of the U.S. military mission is to provide a force presence to protect the people of the United States and their concerns without having to engage in combat. Only when the deterrence does not work does the U.S. military look to prosecute and win the Nation’s battles. If the primary threat to our national security is terrorism that has its roots in trying to define the United States and its people as unconcerned with the general welfare of the masses that do not make up the economically well-to-do and people who are not “native born” Americans or not of the Anglo-Saxon Christian heritage, then the Commander-In-Chief must be able to personify that we are not of that mindset. Then and only then, can that person effectively carry out his duties inherent to being the Commander-In-Chief which include preserving the peace. By preserving the peace, the lives of those serving in the military are only put at risk as a last resort.
From my foxhole, the person chosen to be Our Commander-In-Chief must be a person who will be trusted by those serving in the military as one who will position our country as one of global inclusion such that terrorists and other potential enemies are hard pressed to make the case that their deadly ways are in the best interest of anyone on this globe. The men and women of the military must feel that their Commander-In-Chief is a level headed person who will unemotionally calculate societal and policy positions in a manner that will best prevent armed conflict.
Maj Gen US Army (ret) John R. Hawkins III, JD, MPA is President and CEO of Hawkins Solutions Intl., a government relations and lobby company. His last military assignment as a “two star” was Dir., Human Resources Directorate for the Army world-wide and prior to that Deputy Chief Public Affairs for the Army, world-wide.